If You Want to Play Your Sport in College

If you want a college where you can join the team, there's good news. Many colleges offer sport programs at every level.

If you want to play in college because you enjoy it, your chances of finding a team are good. But if you want to play at a more competitive level, you'll need to work harder to find a fit.

At What Level Do You Want to Play?

How skilled are you at the sport? And how much time do you want to commit to it? Your answers will lead you to one of three levels of collegiate sports:

  1. Intramural sports are open to all students in a college. Teams play each other. This level makes sense if you are a beginner or just want to play for fun and meet people.
  2. Club sports organize teams that play other colleges in the area. If you are a skilled player and enjoy competing and travelling, a club team might be perfect.
  3. Varsity sports are run by sports organizations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). If you are playing at the top of your game and are willing to commit serious time, a nationally ranked team might be your goal.

If you want to play at the intramural or club level, you could make sport participation a "tie-breaker" college quality. If you want to play at a varsity level, you have much more to consider.

If You Want to Play at the College Varsity Level

The NCAA regulates most college varsity sports competition, recruiting, and athletic scholarships. Colleges belong to one of three NCAA Divisions, ranging from most competitive to least. About 300 small colleges belong to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) which runs national championships in 13 sports.

Scoring Sports Scholarships

Many high school athletes dream of being rewarded for their talents with a college sports scholarship. While there may be serious money available for players on the college teams you see on TV, most college athletes get modest awards, if any.

What's Next?