Many high school athletes who dream of playing in college have plenty of questions swirling inside their heads that are clouding those pleasant dreams. We’ll try to clear the fog by posing 10 important questions to ask when considering playing college sports after high school.
For students who are determined to go to college and play sports in college, the next step is to begin narrowing down the possibilities. A little introspection is called for.
Depending on your situation, the answers to some of the questions listed here may be obvious. But many prompt additional related questions, and there are dozens of others about college recruiting not listed here. So, consider these groups of 10 questions a starting point rather than a comprehensive list.
- Is the school a good fit for my academic interests and goals and does it offer the academic program(s) I am interested in? Do I meet or exceed the admissions standards? Am I being realistic about my ability to succeed academically at the school?
- Is the school the correct fit for me athletically? Am I being realistic about the role I see myself playing? How much of a challenge do I want athletically? Am I reaching too high or aiming too low? How much of a time commitment do I want to make to athletics?
- What is the school’s enrollment and setting? Do I want a big public school, a small private school or some kind of hybrid? Urban or rural? Secular or faith-based? How close to home do I want to be?
- Will I pursue an athletic scholarship, and if so, what schools are likely to offer one? What conditions must I satisfy to maintain any scholarships I may receive? Are other financial awards, such as academic merit scholarships or grants, available to athletes at my target schools?
- What is the reputation of the program I am considering? Does the program have a history of success? What is the success rate of the current coach? How have recent teams performed at the conference, regional and national levels? Do I like the current coaching staff and do they seem to sincerely like me?
- What is the school’s graduation rate for athletes? For non-athletes?
- How much does the school’s athletic department contribute to my sport in terms of resources, including facilities and financial resources? How much does the team travel for competition? How do athletes make up lost classroom time and are professors willing to accommodate athletes?
- What are the housing arrangements? Can I live off-campus if I desire?
- What if I get hurt and can’t play? Will my scholarship continue? Would I want to attend the school at all if I was injured and could not play? What if the coach who recruited me leaves?
- When it's all over, will I be able to look back fondly on my college athletic and academic achievements or will I have regrets about my decision to go there? Will college properly prepare me for life after college?
Many of the questions posed here require a lengthy answer that provokes others. Therefore, we will address several of these questions in more detail in future features.
While this article focuses on questions for students to ask about college, we did not forget about parental concerns. We also produced a list of Ten questions for parents of high school athletes to ask when considering colleges.