The first thing to know is that there are plenty of options available to play sports in college so long as you are open to the different levels. The most well-known is the NCAA and within this are additional breakdowns of divisions into which colleges can fall. Homeschool students who are serious about playing sports after graduation should start looking at this information around 8th grade so they can take the necessary classes and maintain their GPA. One of the benefits in looking at this information is that students can determine which requirements meet their level and objectives or how they may need to adjust their high school class curriculum to satisfy eligibility.
Within the NCAA there are three divisions: 1, 2 and 3 and both 1 and 2 require NCAA core courses for athletes to be eligible to receive athletic aid, be able to practice and compete in the first year. Division 3 schools set their own standards, so students will need to identify if the college they are considering applying to is in this category or one of the other two. The best online homeschool platforms should offer high school classes that are approved by the NCAA, but parents should confirm this before enrolling their student to make sure. The guidance counselor can help the student create a path to graduation that is focused on satisfying these requirements and obtaining the necessary documentation and proof to submit with their application.
When looking at the different college options available it is important that the student understands not only the academic criteria but also the personal time and commitment that is necessary. Division 1 schools are at the top and the toughest to get into because the competition is fierce among athletes to be selected as well as to keep their eligibility throughout high school and in college. Division 3 schools do not offer athletic aid but may provide a better opportunity for an athlete to balance their education and playing time because they are not as high profile as the D1 campuses.
NCAA core courses apply to students who want to compete at the Division 2 level but the overall process may be easier for the athlete and the parents. When looking at which colleges to attend, it is a good idea to have a list with at least several universities in each category so the family can visit, see the campus, meet the coach and determine which is the right fit. Playing sports at the college level should be fun and rewarding while still challenging the student and making them a better athlete. At the same time, education is important for the future and should be a high priority for the school and its athletes.
For an athlete, the ability to play their sport is part of who they are and parents can give them the best opportunity to do this at the next level when they engage with a homeschool program that offers NCAA core courses and the flexibility to balance academics and training.
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