In all the hype and hubbub that goes along with recruiting, it’s always good to remember that the word “college” should always precede your sport; college football, college basketball, college softball, college swimming. That’s because, though you may be focused on playing your sport at the next level, a hugely important element is the education you will derive from competing in college.

When considering a college, academics should be a big part of your decision. That consideration should start with the availability of a course of study in the area you want to major in and include the graduation rate for the team and the school overall. However, since every student-athlete is different, the emphasis you put on academics in your decision may be different than other recruits. But when taken together, a recruit’s approach to academics generally falls into one of three categories. Where do you place yourself?

All Sport, All The Time

For some recruits, a college decision is based solely on the opportunity to continue playing their sport. If it wasn’t for the opportunity to compete at the college level, the All Sport, All The Time athlete may or may not even attend college. And if a tiny commuter college thousands of miles away is the only option to compete in college, that’s where they’ll be going to school. Majoring in a preferred area or a school’s academic reputation won’t factor into this athlete’s decision. Instead, his or her greater concern is winning, competing, developing, playing, and team culture.

The Balanced Recruit

As the name implies, the Balanced Recruit wants to play a sport in college but is also giving equal consideration to the quality of education they will receive. The Balanced Recruit will likely need some flexibility in his or her decision process, since every school at every level may not offer the balance between sports and academic standards they’re seeking. If academic considerations are larger factors in a Balanced Recruit’s decision, then knowing where he or she stands athletically in the eyes of recruiters can help choose a school that offers the sports/education balance they’re seeking.

All About Academics

For the recruit that’s All About Academics, the opportunity to compete is a secondary consideration to a given school’s academic reputation or specific course of study. An All About Academics student-athlete will consider the education they’ll receive at a given school first, and then see if they might be able to compete in their chosen sport while attending that college.

If you want to be recruited to play sports at the college level, this is usually the least effective approach. If you’re choosing a school based on academics first, it’s fully up to you to get a spot on a given team (and that’s something you should do before making a college decision). Ultimately, an All About Academics student-athlete may be fine not competing at the college level and focusing on their studies instead.

Developing and narrowing down a list of colleges into a manageable target list is difficult. And making a final decision might be even harder. But knowing what type of recruit you are, and how much academics will weigh in your decision, can clear up some of the confusion and help you choose the college/athletics opportunity that’s right for you.

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