As an athlete transitioning from the high school level to the college level you want to pick a school that best suits your needs. When looking at schools you want to make sure they have the type of athletic program in which you want to develop, if they have the major you want to explore, the right campus activities you want to indulge in and somewhere that you feel is the overall right fit for you. Although scholarships are a key factor in selecting schools for most athletes, it is not the best idea to go somewhere just for the money. It is very important to put in the research on different schools before you make that final decision, so I am going to supply a few tips that might be helpful in assistingyou in the selection process.

All colleges have different types of athletic programs. For your individual sport the techniques are going to vary as well.  You want to find a place that suits your training methods and offers the most of what you need. The intensity level grows greatly in your transition from one level to the next,so a program that accumulates a training system that works great with you is vital to your athletic success. Starting over with a completely re vamped program opposite of what you are accustomed to could significantly hinder your achievements in your first year.Also you want to observe what the athletics program has to offer you on and off the field. Having an athletic program that is involved and truly cares about your academic achievements is necessary and imperative to your success. Such things as having tutors, advisors, student services and study hall just for athletes; a specific place that fits around your busy schedule to help better your experience and time at college.  Some of the top athletic programs offer more benefits and better training facilities than some of the other schools you may have offers to, so make sure you look thoroughly at your opportunities and chances for college athletics and success!

Another colossal decision is the academic realm of the school; some universitiesare more specialized in particular majors then others. You should do research to see if your field of study is accredited at the school you want to attend.Attending a school that is more specialized in the major you wish to study opens up more options for your future. If you are a student that doesn’t know which direction that you want to go in school yet, you should choose a school that has a wide variety of majors. A school that offers just a few majors will restrict your options of potential routes you can take in life. So, looking at what majors a school offerscan be essential in the process of selecting a university.

Although being an athlete is already a huge commitment, it is important to get immersed in campus activities as well. You want to look at schools and see what they offer in form of events and organizations on the campus. Sometimes you can find campuses that are very student body oriented and have events throughout the year along with a diverse selection of intriguing organizations you could get involved in.  If you are interested in getting involved, you should look at the programs the campus offers and what campuses offer such opportunities. Also you should look at how unified the campus is and what fun events they hold annually that will enhance your college experience, because getting involved outside of the athletic department opens up bountiful options that can lead to future success.

I also suggest before committing to a college that you should go to the campus one day by yourself and walk around. See if that’s the place for you and if you feel comfortable there. See who the people are and how they interact with you. Look at the campus and see if this is the place you have pictured in your head when you were little. When you explore and walk around the campus you should get that gut feeling; the one that will let you know this is the place that is meant for you. Being on a campus that you don’t feel comfortable with can be terrifying and very damaging to your academics and athletics.

As an athlete, I made the mistake of attending my particular school for the money. I didn’t go through the steps above or see if the university met my personal criteria. My first semester of college was not anything like I imagined it was going to be, and everyday when I went back to my dorm, I was miserable. I cannot stress enough that you should take the time to research the place you are going to spend the next four years of your life. No matter who you are there is always that place that isn’t going to be for you and the place that’s going to fit you like a glove. After a dreadful first semester, a transfer and a walk on slot, I found that place and I have no doubt had an amazing college and athletic experience.However I wish someone had advised me to examine this list above and make sure I did my research before I went to college.

References:

http://professionals.collegeboard.com/guidance/prepare/athletes/college

http://www.collegebasics.com/planning-for-college/choosing-a-college/162-how-does-a-student-athlete-choose-the-best-college.html

http://www.ncaastudent.org/NCAA_Guide.pdf