Explore All of Your Options
When looking at potential schools you are interested in make sure that you are exploring all of your options. Most student-athletes only look at schools that are geographically close to them or their extended families.
Others will only look at big name schools they have heard of or have followed since they were young. And still others will make a family member’s alma mater their top priority.
True, the school that is right for you can fit into one of these categories but you owe it to yourself to explore all of your options before you make any major decisions. As a student-athlete you will want to make sure you are giving yourself maximum exposure to college coaches as well as exploring every possibility to confirm that you have made the best decision for you.
Commonly Overlooked Opportunities
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is the governing body for about 300 schools. The NAIA is its own institution and has its own set of athletic and academic rules over its schools. NAIA schools tend to be smaller schools but compete at a level comparable to NCAA Division 2 schools. NAIA schools are also allowed to give athletic scholarships and they give out $450 million in athletic scholarships annually. To get more information on the NAIA or their member schools visit naia.org.
Different Division Levels
Look at schools at a different athletic division than you would normally look at. Even though you have the talent level to play at a specific university or division level doesn’t mean that you need to only look at schools at that division level. Look at comparable schools both academically and athletically. Sometimes athletically you can fit in several division levels, so don’t sell yourself short.
Just because D1 sounds sexier doesn’t mean that the perfect school for you is a D1 school. You might find your dream school in a D2 program; they still compete at a high level of athletics and can still give scholarships. Remember you want to be able to succeed both athletically and academically so find the right school for you, not just a school that you think sounds good.
When looking for schools make sure you are exploring all of your options. Break down the search by looking at schools that offer your sport, desired major and living environment. When you first start looking don’t be afraid to look at lots of schools to help you explore and narrow down your search.