Many kids love playing sports and spend a lot of time practicing and playing their favorite sports. As kids get older and near college age, many start thinking about playing sports in college.

Many high school players wonder how their participation in sports affects their college prospects. They want to know whether or not sports will provide them an advantage and whether or not they will be able to continue playing sports when they are enrolled in college.

So, how about it? Do sports help in college admissions, or do they make the process harder? Or both? Read on to find out! 

Does Sports Help In College Admissions?

Yes, it is possible that sports can help in college admissions. But it will not be easy, and there are steps you have to follow. 

Being a member of a sports team won’t necessarily help your chances of getting into college. It only plays a role in the admissions process for a very small percentage of students. 

With that said, it has the potential to give pupils who excel in their chosen sport a significant advantage.

Students can join collegiate athletic teams in three different ways: through recruitment, preferred walk-ons, or standard walk-ons.

Recruited Athletes

An athlete is recruited to join a university sports team on scholarship. The athlete’s parents and coach work together to ensure the student meets academic requirements for college.

Even recruited athletes face competition from other high-level athletes. When two athletes have similar abilities, the one with better academics, test scores, and overall candidacy is typically the one who will be admitted.

Preferred Walk-Ons

Universities have limited athletic scholarships and must often make tough selections. When coaches don’t have enough scholarship money for a coveted athlete, the player is occasionally given a minor admissions boost and stays eligible for a scholarship in the future.

Like recruited athletes, preferred walk-ons with stronger profiles are more likely to be accepted. Preferred walk-ons can join the team but won’t receive a scholarship.

Standard Walk-Ons

Without a coach or athletic department, walk-on athletes apply to institutions. First-year students attend an open tryout to be examined athletically. The coach determines whether to recruit the pupil.

Other Sports Options In College

Joining a club or intramural team is another option for athletes that prioritize their sport. Most institutions offer non-team sports.

Applying To College As An Athlete

Going through the process of selecting and applying to college has a number of steps. And student-athletes who want to play college sports often have even more steps to take. 

Students-athletes may also need to do the following:

  • Send interest letters to colleges you like. Do this in the student’s sophomore and junior years.
  • Preparing a resume. It should include basic student info, sports stats starting in 9th grade, and academic records.
  • Know what level to play at. Check with the coach if you’re working with a student who wants a Division I scholarship.
  • Use an athletic department-issued application with a code. That shows the college admissions office that the athletic department wants the student.
  • Visit a college’s summer sports camp. The college coach will see the athlete play, and the student can tour the campus.
  • Join NCAA Eligibility Center. Athletes who want to play in NCAA Division I or II must register.
  • Submit a video of competitive athleticism. Add a data summary.

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