College Prep for High School Athletes

College Prep for High School AthletesIt is an exhilarating feeling: the excitement and humidity of a high school gym, filled with screaming fans. School spirit runs high as the scoreboard clock races through the last four seconds of the game. The senior team captain shoots the ball from the three-point line, boosting your team’s score over the rival’s by a single point.

While this memorable moment might seem like an astounding accomplishment, it is crucial to remember that these moments are not the end of the road; rather, they lead up to bigger and better moments of success.

Students who participate in sports during high school years should take several things into consideration—ways to prepare for their athletic endeavors, as well as the academic side of college.

Balance is the Key to Success

Two of the most important things that all students must learn, regardless of skill, background, or work ethics are organization and planning. These skills are needed in order to prepare for college. Students will need to balance their personal life, their friends, family, sports, homework, projects, studying, and any other extracurricular activities.

Investing in a planner, a calendar, or utilizing planning apps on a computer or smart phone (such as inClass, which enables students to record audio, take notes via text or video, and turn slides or handouts into images) is a great way to ensure all responsibilities are tracked and completed by the time they are due.

Review Scholarships

Attending a university is a worthwhile investment—but it is still an investment, nonetheless. To help lessen the financial burden, student athletes should research and apply to scholarships. Athletes have a unique opportunity that other students are not offered—the ability to obtain scholarships due to athletic ability, leadership qualities, and team efforts. It doesn’t hurt to apply for a few!

Here is a list of the scholarships available at Florida National University (FNU), among which students will find several choices including an academic and an athletic scholarship.

Preparing With Academic Excellence

It is easy for student athletes to neglect their academic classes while focusing on the current sports season. However, it is time for student athletes to disprove stereotypes, show that athletes can excel academically, and to focus on overall excellence, rather than on the field alone. Doing so will not only break the stereotype, but will ensure a promising future, as well.

Why GPA Matters for Athletes

Student athletes must be careful to maintain their grade point average (GPA) during high school, as a particular GPA is needed in order to compete in college level sports. While this may vary by each university, there is a national standard that students must adhere to in order to play Division I level sports in college. In recent years, the NCAA has cracked down on student athletes participating in Division I level sports. The minimum high school GPA for these athletes was 2.0, but it was raised to 2.3 in 2011.

This effort was not established to rule out students that struggle, but instead to motivate athletes to take their studies more seriously and to be the best student athlete they can be, overall. Not to mention, this will help prepare students to complete courses at a college level. Those who do not maintain an acceptable GPA during college are in jeopardy of losing their place on the team, along with any scholarships they attained.

Application of Skills

While good grades are important, the actual skills learned in high school are crucial to understanding college level courses. Think of it this way: college is the capstone placed atop a lifelong journey of education. Building upon a rocky foundation does not ensure a secure construction—in fact; an unstable foundation is likely to crumble under pressure. Securing a strong foundation during high school is a great way to build up the skills needed to do well in college.

For example, learning to read and write well is a skill more students are in need of. As technology continues to advance, students are becoming more familiar with text message lingo and are paying less attention to grammatical errors. Not only is this skill essential for successfully completing college courses, but it is important during the college application process—there are several essays and forms that student athletes need to properly fill out.

Preparing for Competitive Athleticism

With all that said, athletes are still athletes. While studies should never be placed on the back burner, students should still work to excel and impress on the field—you never know when a scout or coach might be watching.

Whether on JV or Varsity, students should always be motivated to push themselves on the field. Athletes who want to impress their coach, teammates, team captain, and potential college recruiters should work to stand out among their peers. Training is key. The following tips will help high school students, on and off the field:

  • Healthy Eating: American teenagers tend to neglect eating properly. Rather than consuming vitamin-rich food sources, they indulge in junk food. Instead of snacking on another bag of chips and sipping soda, why not grab a handful of almonds and a glass of water or skim milk? Maintaining good health is essential to preforming on the field. Students who carefully keep track of their nutrition are likely to have more energy and precision, leading them to a greater likelihood of success in the classroom and on the team.
  • Consistent Exercise: While practice and games are a lot of exercise, training off the field is a good opportunity to boost endurance, build muscle, and enhance athletic skills. Staying active will enable students to perform well when it is needed most.
  • Avoid Smoking and Drinking: Unfortunately, high school students are faced with peer pressure each day. Knowing that drinking alcohol or smoking can leave athletes feeling sluggish and winded should be enough reason for students to overcome this pressure.  Don’t jeopardize your place on the field for a few moments of feeling “cool.”

Florida National University

Because we care about all of our current, incoming, and potential students, we want to ensure that high school students understand what is expected of them, and what will help them excel in the college level once the time comes. We understand that high school peers might be misinformed about what college entails; we want to make sure high school students have access to this crucial information.

If you are deciding where to continue your education, review our programs to see if any align with your interests. We offer certificate, Associates, Bachelors, and Masters programs—there has got to be one for you! If you would like to attend Florida National University, apply today!

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