If you have a dream of playing on the athletic team of a major university, there are a number of things you should know about the recruiting process. First of all, the process is fiercely competitive; only one in twenty, or five percent, of all applicants end up playing for collegiate teams. Furthermore, admission rates to major universities, such as Ivy League schools, range between 7% and 20% of applicants, depending on the school. This means that you need to be not just good, but outstanding, both academically and athletically, to even have a chance.
Some collegiate sports are easier to enter than others. College soccer, for example, is a relatively easy “back door,” as soccer is not nearly as popular, as basketball, football, etc. (though growing in popularity). Baseball players may find they have a good shot, if they research smaller schools, and pick out those that have prominent baseball programs. For instance, Oregon State in Corvallis has had two national championship teams in recent years, yet is not a particularly famous or “prestigious” school.
Baseball recruiting is very selective, but it is one area of college athletic recruiting where the good athlete who is also a good scholar can have a reasonable shot.
If you want to aim high, such as applying to an Ivy League school athletic program, you should be aware that everyone who applies to these schools has a 4.0 grade point average, quarterbacks the varsity football team, volunteers with the Red Cross, and is captain of the debate team. This is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. High school seniors, who consider themselves part of an elite, find out very quickly that they are quite ordinary, when dunked into the pool of Ivy League school applicants.
For example, the Ivy League Academic Index rule dictates that no one, no matter how good of an athlete they may be, will be admitted to an Ivy League school as an athlete unless they have a minimum score, calculated as follows: 10% of your SAT (or converted ACT score) + Converted Rank Score must be greater than 171. The CRS is based on your academic class rank, adjusted for class size. So, for example, if your combined SAT score was 1100, you must score 61 or better on class rank, which would mean you would have to be in the top 40% of a graduating class of 500. The formula is structured so that SAT or ACT scores make up about 2/3 of the Index score, so good SAT scores are vital in this regard.
Of course, the Index score is just the first hurdle. An applicant will naturally be judged on his athletic accomplishments, as well. But the lower the Index score, the greater the accomplishment will have to be. Ivy League football recruiting, in particular, uses a complicated set of formulae to determine applicant eligibility and ranking. Also, as with most other types of college admission processes, other factors, such as extracurricular activities and community involvement, are also considered.
College recruiting websites are available that can help you navigate the complicated process of being recruited by a major college as an athlete. You need to know how to make yourself stand out in a group of talented applicants: only 3% of high school athletes, initially contacted by school recruiters, eventually make it into a major college athletic program. A bit of research, now, can help save you a lot of time, later, as well as improve your chances of acceptance.