How to get Athletic Scholarships


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     This information is a must for any student who hopes for an athletic scholarship at ANY Division I or Division II. (FYI, Division III schools DO NOT give athletic scholarships to their students.)

     In order to be admissible at Division I and II schools under NCAA guidelines, students must take a minimum number (itís often helpful to take more) of "core courses." The grades obtained in these courses are used to calculate a studentís "core GPA." Based on the core GPA and test scores such as SAT or ACT scores, a student will ultimately be ruled eligible or ineligible for athletic scholarships.

     Having an acceptable combination of core GPA and test scores DOES NOT guarantee an athletic scholarship, but an unacceptable combination does make an athletic scholarship impossible.

     When should students act on this info?  This question has a two-part answer. First, students and parents should be aware of this from the time they pick their first classes in grade 9. This is important, because not all courses offered qualify as core courses, and students must take a minimum number to have a core GPA.

     Second, student athletes will want to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse after the close of their junior year in high school. After their senior year, a final transcript will have to be sent from the high school to the clearinghouse. If youíve been offered a scholarship, be sure to follow up and make sure that happens.

     How should students and parents decide what level of classes to take?  As a counselor, I feel itís my duty to recommend College Prep (CP) level classes to any student who qualifies for them and plans to go to college. A review of entrance requirements shows that many colleges require 16 (more or less) CP level classes before a student may be considered for admissions.

     On the other hand, CP level classes may hurt a studentís core GPA, and therefore the studentís NCAA eligibility. For an outstanding athlete the previously mentioned requirement for 16 CP level classes may be waived. Parents and students need to get the best input they can from coaches and guidance counselors to see how to handle this very tricky consideration in course selection.

     Even then, parents and students will have to make the final decision, understanding that the consequences are serious, and may not be clear until years in the future.

     Where can students/parents follow up on this?  Basically, itís all available at and Be sure to download the Guide for the College-bound Student Athlete while youíre at the first site. Itís sure to answer 95% of the questions you might have. You can find the core courses offered at your school at either site.  

Also note!

     Registering with the Clearinghouse is not free, but fee waivers may be available, depending on your situation. Check it out at, or ask your school counselor.



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