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  • Writer's pictureDonna Baines

Student Athletes - Tips for Playing College Sports

As a student-athlete, you are embarking on a unique and rewarding journey that combines academic excellence with athletic prowess. The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) plays a crucial role in regulating and overseeing college sports, and understanding its requirements is key to navigating the complex landscape of student athletics.

The NCAA Profile: Your Passport to College Athletics

The NCAA Profile is your virtual gateway to college sports. It allows you to showcase your academic and athletic achievements to potential colleges and universities. Building a comprehensive and accurate NCAA Profile is an essential step in the college recruitment process.

Here are some key components to focus on when creating your profile:

Academic Achievements: Prioritize Being a Student First

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of athletic achievements, but always remember that you are a student first. Colleges are not only interested in your on-field performance but also in your academic capabilities. Maintain a strong GPA, excel in standardized tests, and take challenging courses to demonstrate your commitment to academic excellence.

Athletic Achievements: Highlight Your Skills and Achievements

Provide detailed information about your athletic achievements, including statistics, awards, and notable performances. Include video clips or links to highlight reels, showcasing your skills and abilities. Be thorough and accurate in presenting a true reflection of your athletic capabilities.

Personal Information: Let Your Personality Shine

Use the personal information section to showcase your character, leadership skills, and extracurricular activities. Colleges are not just looking for talented athletes; they want individuals who will contribute positively to their campus community.

Student First, Athlete Second – The Importance of Balance

While excelling in athletics is undoubtedly important, maintaining a balance between academics and sports is crucial. According to recent studies, only a small percentage of high school athletes secure full-ride scholarships. In fact, less than 2% of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships at NCAA colleges, and even fewer earn full-ride scholarships.

This statistic underscores the importance of focusing on academics alongside athletics. While a select few may secure full-ride scholarships, the majority of student-athletes will need to rely on a combination of academic and athletic scholarships, as well as financial aid.

Online Resources for Parents: Navigating the Journey Together

For parents of student-athletes, understanding the intricacies of the college recruitment process can be challenging. Fortunately, there are numerous online resources available to guide you through this journey:

1. NCAA Eligibility Center (

The official NCAA Eligibility Center website is a comprehensive resource for understanding the eligibility requirements for college athletes. It provides step-by-step guides, resources, and tools to help student-athletes and their families navigate the recruitment process.

2. National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) (

Explore the NAIA website to learn about athletic opportunities at smaller colleges and universities. The NAIA offers its own eligibility requirements and recruitment process, providing additional options for student-athletes.

3. College Board's BigFuture (

BigFuture, powered by the College Board, offers a dedicated section on college sports and recruitment. It provides insights into the college search process, financial aid, and the importance of academic preparation.

Remember, the journey of a student-athlete is about more than just sports. By prioritizing academic success, maintaining a strong NCAA Profile, and leveraging valuable online resources, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the exciting path toward college athletics.

Book your first free career or college planning session today!

Donna Baines

Baines College Consulting, LLC

Donna has 20 years of college admissions and financial aid experience. She has helped thousands of high school students all over the United States with their college and career goals.

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