College Planning Content provided by The Sport Source®
One of the most important decisions a young person will make while in high school is the choice of a college to attend. If the young student is fortunate to not only be academically qualified but also athletically as well, then opportunities exist to secure a college scholarship. A number of factors need to be taken into account when selecting a college such as:
- Local vs away-from-home
- Commuting vs residential campus
- Large vs small school
- Area of academic interest
- And of course the cost of education
The lucky student who also possesses recognized soccer abilities and skills has additional opportunities. College coaches are constantly on the lookout for new prospects. Oftentimes you will find coaches at tournaments viewing any number of players. As a prospective college player, it is of utmost importance that you do a thorough investigation of potential colleges and that you be identified as early as possible. Important vehicles for showcasing your abilities include tournaments, club soccer, high school soccer, and the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program. Many coaches begin identifying potential prospects in a player’s junior year of high school.
- NCAA Guide for College-Bound Student-Athletes [link]
- NCAA Div I Schools that Sponsor Soccer – Men [link] Women [link]
- NCAA Div II Schools that Sponsor Soccer – Men [link] Women [link]
- NCAA Div III Schools that Sponsor Soccer – Men [link] Women [link]
- Sample Resume [link]
- Sample Cover Letter [link]
- NCAA Soccer Programs and Scholarship Information [link]
- NCAA Clearinghouse [link]
- National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) [link]
- National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) [link]
- The Sport Source® [link]
Here are some additional topics you may be considering. Click on each link to find more information on:
- Advice from a College Coaches Perspective [link]
- Contacting College Coaches [link]
- Student College Planning Timelines [link]
- Parent College Planning Timelines [link]
- College Entrance Exams [link]
- SAT & ACT Basics [link]
- Financial Aid Info [link]
- What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) [link]
NCAA Eligibility Center the fee is $50.00 and, if applicable, a student can request a waiver from the high school if he or she meets the criteria.
National Collegiate Athletic Association
700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN 46206
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Headquarters
23500 W. 105th St.
P.O. Box 1325
Olathe, KS 66051
Phone (913) 791-0044
National Junior College Athletic Association
1755 Telstar Drive, Suite 103
Colorado Spring, Colorado 80920
2255 North Dubuque Rd.
P.O. Box 4044
Iowa City, IA 52243-4044
Customer Service Line: 877/262-1492 (8 am -5 pm CST) or 24-hr voice response: 877/861-3003
College Planning Tips
Everyone knows schools that are top of mind in awareness. Someone has had a parent or a friend or a friend of a friend who attend a particular school. Now it is up to you to figure out which school is right for you. Here are a few things to consider when you choose to apply to a college.
There are colleges in every living environment you can imagine, from tiny towns in Iowa to the middle of California. If you have always lived in the suburbs, choosing an urban campus can be an adventure. See how you feel after a week of urban life, the variety of people, and the fast paced life and see if you miss a calmer campus and open space. On the other side, if you are used to the suburbs and mall life and choose a college in a rural area, you just might run to the Student Center some night looking for noise, lights, and people. Think about where you grew up and how much of a change you want from that when you go to college. We suggest you take “”un-official”” campus visits, talk to the students, tour the campus and city and spend more than a couple of days. Either way, make sure if you choose a school in the north, you like snow or in the south where typically it is sunshine most everyday.
Colleges come in all sizes, from a school in New York like Hartwick College that enrolls 2,500 students to schools like Pennsylvania State, which can enroll 30,000 or more. Which one is better? Well, that depends on you and what you want. If you grew up in a small town and went to a small high school or in a large city and attended a high school with a senior class of 3,000 only you can choose which best fits your goals. Whether you grew up in a city or a rural area you will need to consider factors like student-teacher ratio and if you want to be a person or a number. Ask yourself, if you like being places where everybody knows you, or do you like the anonymity of a crowd? Once you evaluate your goals, then making a clear and concise choice will be easy.
All colleges are not the same. Some have large graduate programs and devote much of their time and resources to research while others are small Liberal Arts schools with various programs of study offered. Some schools have a specialty in one specific area, like Colorado School of Mines who specialize in math and engineering, Southern Methodist University who offer Business and Law programs or Florida International University a university that offers business with hospitality being a specialty. Others schools might be best known for giving their students a broad education. Other factors include whether a school is single sex or coed, if they have a religious affiliation, and whether they are public or private. There are also historically black colleges, schools with co-op programs where you earn money while going to school, and schools with large evening and part-time programs. The options are almost limitless.
While location and distance are similar issues, how far from home you want to be just might be as important. For some going to college is a chance to explore a different part of the country. For other students and their parents having dinner with their family once a week may also be important. Don’t worry about going home to do your laundry, most college and university campuses have a laundry facility and others offer personal services and assistants to do your laundry for you.
While lots of kids will say … I can’t wait to go away to school and in many cases the parents are ready for them to go … the bottom line is how likely you are to get homesick, and how much money you can afford to spend in travel. The farther you are from home, the less often you’ll be able to visit. On the other hand, with email and cell phones, you can still feel close to home even if you’re in California and your family is in Texas. Reaching out and communicating is easy if you are mature and ready to take on the challenge.
- Tuition/Scholarships & Financial Aid
Have you ever heard your parents say “Study and get good grades it will mean something”. They were actually right! The cost of a college education is approximately $125,000 and in the next 15 years the cost is expected to exceed $200,000. While this seems expensive and almost out of reach to some families, cost should not be the only reason you and your family pass on a certain college or university. While cost is a top consideration that most parents think about when the topic of paying for college comes up, remember not all colleges cost the same. Also there are different types of financial aid programs at different schools and with so many scholarships available, paying for college can be easier than you might think. Your grades are worth money, your community service is worth money, your athletic ability may be worth money. In addition, where your parents work just might have scholarship dollars to give. Half the battle is asking and applying.
For example, if you lived in Texas and applied to the University of Texas, because it is a Public University the tuition is lower for in-state residents. The same is true for all public college and university programs where you live. Fees for out-of-state residents are usually pretty similar to private schools so consider all the factors when choosing a college or university. For a Private institution it does not matter if you live 2 blocks away or 2,000 miles away the price is still the same and because it is private, it is very selective in the admissions process. While both offer scholarships both academically and athletically narrowing your choices to the school that will give you the best advantage after graduation is important. Of the private schools the only ones that don’t offer scholarships athletically are the Ivy League schools, they are need based and if you show need, they will show you money. Again, with so many privately-funded scholarships available that go unclaimed each year you can help cover part of the cost of your education if you are serious.Do some research to identify scholarships and then apply.
- Admissions/Degrees Conferred
If you know what field you want to go into after college, it’s important to make sure you go to college somewhere that will prepare you for your chosen profession. If you are unsure, consider Liberal Arts – either way you will need to declare your major by the end of your second year. If you want to be a doctor, you will want to pursue programs with a strong pre-med offering. Like many students entering their freshman year of college, you might not know what you want to do, so having options is important. Here is a tip, if you are not good in math, don’t pursue a degree in Engineering or Architecture since these are heavy in math.
Some schools require students to take classes in a wide variety of subjects during their Freshman and Sophomore years. These schools are great for students who either want a well-rounded education or are trying to figure out what area to focus on. Other schools let students just dive in to their chosen majors without a lot of other requirements. These schools are great for focused students who know what they want to do and don’t want to spend their time in classes that won’t help them in their major.
- Athletics and Events
If you are an athlete and are being recruited, this may also improve your chances of getting admitted to your choice of schools. Are you a sports fan? The sound of a marching band and the sight of a football uniform just might make the difference. At some schools, sports are the order of the day, the main social activity on most students’ calendars. Maybe you’re really into going to live concerts, or you love nothing better than to go hiking in the woods. If you like to spend your free time going to shows at clubs, you probably won’t be happy at a small school in the countryside where few acts stop on tour.
- The Campus Visit
Your first stop on a campus visit is the visitor center or admissions office, where you will meet with a counselor or academic advisor. Take advantage of your visit and become familiar with the college by arriving 30 minutes or more before your appointment to tour and walk around the campus and talk to staff members and to browse through student newspapers that are available. This will give you a “glimpse” into college life and what it might be like for you.
Most organized campus visits include such campus facilities as dormitories, dining halls, libraries, student activity and recreation centers, and the health and student services centers. Some may only be pointed out, while you will walk through others. Bulletin boards in dormitories and student centers contain a wealth of information about campus activities, student concerns, and campus groups. Read the posters, notices, and messages to learn what really interests students. Unlike ads in the school newspaper, posters put up by students advertise both on- and off-campus events, so they will give you an idea of what is also available in the surrounding community.
As you walk through various buildings, examine their condition carefully. Here are some things to look for:
- Are the buildings safe?
- Are the exteriors and interiors of the building clean?
- Is the equipment in the classrooms up-to-date or outdated?
Pay particular attention to the dorms and campus, especially safety. Ask about security measures. Are the dorms noisy or quiet?
- Are the dorms crowded?
- How good is the lighting?
- Where are the dorms located?
- Do all athletes stay in one area or are they part of the general camps living?
- Are the dorms in one main area?
- Who has access to the dormitories in addition to students?
- What security measures are available for students entering and leaving the dorms?
- Can students request escorts to their residences late at night?
- Do campus shuttle buses run at frequent intervals all night?
- Are “blue-light” telephones liberally placed throughout the campus for students to use to call for help?
- Do the campus police patrol the campus regularly?