The first step is to find out which colleges or universities offer academic programs of your interest, along with opportunities to excel in sports. It is important to educate yourself while playing sports. Weigh carefully the pros and cons of attending a NCAA division 1 college against a smaller college. Often you will be able to excel at the smaller college while in a large institution you may just be a pebble in the ocean.
Playing sports at college is not the same as playing at school or in a local community. Find out from your local coach where you stand athletically and whether you are “good enough” to aim for college sports. The criteria considered are: academics, sports competitions participated in at high school, playing abilities and victories, and the maturity level of the student.
In athletics, scholarships are offered in two ways, the first through formalized applications and the second at the recommendations of scouts who represent colleges and travel far and wide evaluating players in different sports and seeking the “gems”—players with star qualities.
To succeed you need to start early, in your sophomore year. Ensure that you keep your grades up, as there are academic requirements to be met. Create a folder of your athletic achievements. Find out from your coach which athletic programs would suit your talents or prowess. Do your research well and select schools that offer a great balance between sports and academics. Consult a career guidance professional; this will give you an idea of what subjects to study to qualify yourself at something other than sports. You must contact the coaches at colleges you are applying to, stating your keen interest in their programs. Be sure to showcase your academic and athletic achievements, and to mention that you are seeking scholarships /financial aid. It is advantageous if you submit applications to the colleges where you plan to contact the coach, as this indicates you are a serious candidate.
Colleges and universities enroll great athletes by offering scholarships. If you handle the college applications in a sensible and disciplined way you can enroll at some of the best colleges with a full scholarship.