Part 1Becoming Eligible for College Athletics
1Speak with your high school counselor about your goals. Plan your high school curriculum as early as you can, speaking through your goals with your high school counselor. Your counselor will know the NCAA core requirements and help ensure that you take all the necessary classes while still in high school.
- Talk honestly with your high school counselor about what you want to achieve as a college athlete, and the counselor will help you meet your goals.
- Speak with your counselor as soon as you can, as it is important to get your high school curriculum on track right away.
2Take the necessary high school core classes. Both Division I and Division II schools have strict core academic requirements that must be met during your high school career. There are 16 core classes that must be completed during your high school years, ranging from math to english courses.
- If you can, begin taking these core courses early in your high school career so that you can complete them in four years.
3Complete the ACT or SAT. As a junior in high school, you should complete both the ACT and SAT standardized tests and submit your scores to the NCAA in preparation for your enrollment. Although each NCAA division has different standardized test requirements, taking the tests early in your high school career will allow you to retake them later on if you need to.
- Your SAT combined score or ACT sum score should match your overall high school GPA, and the mandatory overall GPA will depend on which NCAA Division you aim to qualify for.
4Prepare yourself for Division I academic eligibility. Division I schools and athletic programs are the most competitive and have specific academic requirements that must be met before being considered. High school athletes hoping to play football for a Division I school must complete the 16 NCAA approved core classes throughout their four years. You must also maintain a 2.30 overall high school GPA and an SAT or ACT score that matches this overall GPA.
- NCAA Division I eligibility requires a student to complete four approved english, math, science, and social science courses, one each year of high school.
Decide that you want to become eligible for a Division II team. Division II eligibility requires that you complete 16 approved core courses, but the specifics of these courses are more open than that of Division I requirements. You must maintain an overall GPA of 2.20 throughout your high school career and receive an equivalent score on your SAT or ACT standardized tests.
Become eligible for Division III college athletics. All Division III schools set their own academic eligibility requirements and the guidelines for each school may differ. The best way to find out what a Division III school requires for academic certification is to contact the school directly or visit eligibilitycenter.com for specifications.
7Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. In order to become eligible for NCAA applications, no matter which division you are aiming for, you must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center at eligibilitycenter.org. Register with the NCAA early on, as this will allow you to make changes to your high school curriculum if you need to.
- As a part of your registration, ask your counselor to send your transcripts to the NCAA Eligibility Center after six semesters of high school.
Part 2Contacting the Colleges of Your Choice
1Make a list of the schools you want to apply to. Research schools with a balance between their football and academic programs, making sure that there is balanced focus between the two. Consider where the school is located and whether or not you would enjoy living in the area, or whether you would be willing to travel away from your hometown.
- Finding a program that is a good fit for you, both academically and athletically, will be an important part of your future as both a student and an athlete.
2Attend any camps held by your top schools. Many college programs hold showcasing camps during the summer, through which they become familiar with high school talent. These camps are a great way for you to show your abilities, while also improving your skills as an athlete. Attend as many of these camps as possible during your high school career.
- You can find what camps and programs a school offers on the school’s athletic website, or by visiting the NCAA website.
3Enlist the help and guidance of your high school coaches. In order to truly excel in the recruitment and registration process with the NCAA, ask your high school coaches for help and feedback. Your coaches will be able to give you honest guidance, telling you which college division they think you will thrive in, while creating connections between you and college coaches.
- Start speaking with your coaches about your goals as early in your high school career as possible, and ask them what you can be doing to better your chances in the long run.
- The best high school football coaches have contacts at several NCAA schools and should be able to help you build relationships with the school of your choice.
4Visit your the campuses of your top schools and speak with the football coaches. Before you visit a college campus, contact the school and the school’s football program to schedule tours and meetings with the coaching staff. Meeting the coaching staff personally will let you know if you think you are a good fit for the program, while also showing the coaching staff that you are serious about playing for them.
- Examine the school’s facilities and ask yourself if both the academic and athletic facilities meet your needs.
5Apply to your top schools. Once you have narrowed down five to ten schools that you would like to play college football for, begin your application process. Apply to your top colleges by January of your senior year of college to meet college application deadlines.
- Be sure to have your transcripts, test scores, and overall GPA on hand before applying.
- Some schools may require written essays as part of your application process, so put aside plenty of time to complete these essays.
Part 3Marketing Yourself as a College Athlete
1Achieve as much as you can as an athlete in high school. The best way to stand out amongst your competitors and position yourself as a competitive athlete is to perform your best during your high school career. Train hard and stay dedicated to the sport while balancing your athletic achievements with academic success.
- Building a strong, concrete resume as a high school athlete, through outstanding personal statistics and establishing yourself as a team player will set you apart from your competition.
2Showcase your athletic ability through a video or resume. Throughout your high school career, enlist someone to videotape your best performances so that you can create a showreel of your high school athletic achievements. Create a brief highlight video that can be shared with college recruiters, and post the video on YouTube. Make a brief athletic high school resume detailing your achievements and statistics while playing high school football.
- Creating these things early in your high school career will allow you to start the application and recruitment process before your competitors.
- As you get closer to graduation, send your video and resume directly to the programs of your choice.
3Use an athletic recruiting service to put you ahead. Although enlisting help from a recruitment service is not necessary, some programs can help get your name through to programs that would otherwise not notice you. Consider paying organizations like Athletic Scholarships Sports Recruiting to help get you noticed, but be sure to research the organization before giving them money, and ask them exactly how they plan to help.
- Before committing to a service, ask the program how much they cost, how many schools they guarantee exposing you to, and what kind of services they plan to provide.
4Contact the school’s athletic program directly. Once you have applied to the top schools of your choosing, reaching out to each football program individually will help you stand out amongst other applicants. Send the recruitment coach an email, or call the program’s offices directly.
- If you are emailing the recruitment coach, do not forget to add your highlight video and athletic resume to the email as an attachment.
How do I overcome the pressure of playing football in the public?
Block out the haters, and just be in the game. When you play with friends on your team, you will be so focused, you will not even notice the people watching you.
How can I become a better running back?
Practice makes perfect. Conditioning is critical. Do lots of wind sprints. Practice cuts and breaking tackles. Practice blocking for other runners. Work on holding on to to the ball when you're hit. Work on your receiving skills. Use a football-based weight-training program focused on strength and explosiveness. Build up every muscle group.
If I don't get very good of grades, can I still play college football?
Sure. Just try to get a 2.5 GPA or higher. Scouts love to see good grades because it shows a player's work ethic off the field.
I want to become an NFL player, but I've never played football before. Can I play football in community college?
Yes, if you are good enough to make the team.
Can I play college football as a "non American player" -- from Germany, for example?
Yes, as long as your have "eligibility," meaning you have not already played college football for a total of four years, and you have never played as a professional.
Can I become a college football player if I did not play in high school?
It's unlikely but not impossible. You can go to football tryouts for your college, but you will probably be out-played by people more experienced than you.
I'm 22 and I only played football from middle school to my sophomore year in high school. Can I try out for college football? My position was linebacker and I'm still in shape, very fit and active.
You should talk to the football coach at the college you are attending and find out when the tryouts are and what the qualifications are. Then yes, you should try out!
How can I get an athletic scholarship?
There are many factors into getting an athletic scholarship, but a good place to start is getting on top of your grades and getting a good GPA. Another factor is to post video of you playing online, and try to get yourself as public as possible. This way you have a higher chance of colleges recognizing you. Finally, understand the hard work and sacrifice it takes to overcome the staggering odds of college ball.
Is it okay to not make highlight videos?
Totally. Just play your best and do your thing. Try to get the W, and you may or may not be in the highlights. Just play so you are satisfied with your performance.
How can I play football in college? I never played football before because I'm out of the states,
Follow the steps in this article, and maybe find a personal trainer with football-specific experience. Playing at the college level is a difficult step up for most experienced scholastic players, however, so don't expect too much.
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