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How Important is Academics in the Recruiting Process?

It is a fact that college coaches are looking for the best athletes who can make a key contribution to their team. What we have already called the “Impact Athlete”. But in a world where everything is so competitive, smart people will find an “edge” to differentiate from their competitors. In college sports, one of those “edges” could be academics.

How Important is Academics in the Recruiting Process?

So if a college coach is looking at several players with a similar athletic level and background, he or she will then begin comparing their grades, SAT scores and extracurricular activities. Here is why the better student will win that spot:

1) It gives the coach a better indication of that prospects personality, discipline, and character.

2) This prospect could generate some academic scholarship, which in many cases would save the coach from using any of the athletic scholarship budget (40% athletes have some type of academic scholarship)

3) It guarantees the coach that this prospect will succeed in class not having to worry about losing him or her because of academic ineligibility.

4) This prospect will contribute to a higher team GPA, which reflects very well on the coaching staff.

5) For the higher academic institutions, it will give the coach peace of mind for his admissions.

6) It secures an academic eligibility certification by the NCAA

So what really counts and is needed in today’s college admissions world:

1) Grades:

Colleges are still looking at your accumulative GPA, but they also want to see the strength of your course work. A good grade in a very demanding subject is more important than a very high grade in a basic class. AP or IB classes are a tremendous plus and difference makers.

Schools will look mostly at your grades from your junior and senior year and not so much at freshman and sophomore years.

What is an ideal GPA?  Anything above 3.7 could get you admitted into the best colleges.

2) SAT or ACT:

The tendency of many colleges is to look at other qualities other than just a test score. But the truth is that the SAT or the ACT continues to be a very good measuring stick for most colleges. It is the best way to evaluate students coming from different types and levels of schools (private, public, charter, online, homeschool, etc.), including those from different countries.

What is an ideal SAT or ACT? Here are some general parameters:

  Most Colleges High Academic Colleges Ivy League Schools
SAT: 450 550 700
ACT: 23 26 34

Note: SAT score is based on each section

3) Demonstration of your character and personality:

So you will ask, how can they possible know me if I have not yet attended their college. Here is how:

  • Your Essay: It provides an insight into your unique personality and values.
  • Your Interview: It will give you a chance to show your character and “sell” yourself as a great candidate for their college.
  • Involvement in School or Extracurricular Activities: This demonstrates initiative, leadership, and sense to make a difference.
  • Letters of Recommendation: From teachers, counselors or others, who can testify of your qualities.
 

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