Making Sure You Are Ready for College

I recently posted a blog about being a freshman that spoke about how to handle yourself in the first year of college. After speaking to college coaches and national sports writers, I felt that I better write a new blog about actually making sure you are ready to graduate high school first, in order to be that freshman.

GO SPEAK TO YOUR COUNSELOR 

One of the biggest issues high school students have is believing they can get into a specific college simply because they are graduating from high school. There is nothing that can be farther from the truth. You actually can graduate from high school, even with honors, and still not get into specific schools. You MUST make sure your counselor knows which particular schools you are interested in so you are able to plan to take the specific classes that each school requires. If they (your counselor) brushes you off and gives you a “trust me, you are definitely on course to graduate” type of answer, you need to insist they double check that you have the right classes for the school(s) you are shooting for after high school.

For instance, some schools require four years of English or extra Fine Arts classes. Nothing against electives, but imagine if you missed out on getting into a college simply because you forgot to take an art, cooking or ceramics class? Don’t roll your eyes, I have seen it happen…several times. 

TAKE BOTH THE ACT & SAT TESTS
If you are planning on going to college, you know of the SAT and ACT tests. Some regions of the country lean more towards one test over the other. The best advice I can give is to take them both and take them both twice.

Let’s face it, the first time you do anything, you are caught a little off-guard and are not really sure of what you are doing. The first time you take the ACT & SAT is simply to become familiar with it and know what to expect the second time. If you end up doing very well the first time, that’s great! Now, just think how much better you will be able to do the second time.

The reason for taking them both (even though, as I stated, one may be more common in your region of the country) is simple: you may do better on one over the other. True, they are both similar in nature but, for some reason, I have seen many athletes do average on one and dominate the other. For example, I had one athlete that scored approximately 1,900 out of 2,400 on the SAT. Very respectable score but nothing to write home about in the long run. He proceeded to take the ACT and scored an amazing 35 out of 36! People at NASA score in that zone 🙂 Had he not taken both tests, he would never had known how high a score he could have achieved to impress the colleges and make his entry, as an athlete, that much easier.

Rubio Long Snapper Scotty Thompson
made sure he was all set in high school
and earned a full scholarship to NC State

GET CLEARED BY THE NCAA
When you have fully decided that you are headed to college after high school, you want to make sure you register with the NCAA. Once you are registered (not the easiest process but it will pay off in the end) and have shown you are taking the right classes, you will be cleared by the NCAA. Being “cleared” basically means you are now eligible to play sports at the NCAA level (college). It does NOT mean that you necessarily will be admitted to the college of your choice, but it does mean you are eligible to play IF you do get in.

This is huge for coaches and recruiters as it shows that you are ready to go and they won’t have to jump through a ton of hopes in order to get you to play. Think of it as being pre-qualified to buy a car or home.

To cut questions off at the pass, YES, even if you are 100% sure you are attending a JC (Junior College), you should take the ACT, SAT and get cleared by the NCAA in high school. The reason is, if you are cleared, you will be able to leave your JC early without having to stay and complete your A.A. degree. You would be able to enroll at a four year college for Spring Ball instead of having to wait until the Fall to start with the team. This can be huge for recruiting purposes and you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities that may come up for you.

Be sure to spread this blog out to as many high school athletes as possible so they don’t have to miss out on an opportunity and wonder what if?

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