Student Athletes who are interested in being recruited to a US college or university for a specific sport must begin their SAT or ACT preparation process somewhat earlier than other students. For athletes, beginning your test preparation in grade 9 is ideal. Applying to Division I and Division II level universities (these are categories in which universities are divided in terms of athletic department resources, number of sports represented, and funds – with Division I being the most competitive) is a complicated process and students must register with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) to ensure they meet all the standards stipulated by this eligibility center. Please note that even some of the smaller colleges (including all those in the Ivy League), may actually be Division I schools despite their size.
There is a sliding scale that determines the very minimum SAT or ACT score cutoffs athletes must meet according to NCAA rules. This, of course, doesn’t mean you should aim for the minimum scores given on this scale. Most universities, and most coaches, have significantly higher expectations than the NCAA minimums depending on the year and university policies. Nonetheless, the sliding scale works in such a way that the lower your core-course GPA, the higher you’ll need to score on the SAT or ACT and vice versa. As well, be aware that coaches are expected to recruit athletes for their team who, together, meet an average GPA and SAT or ACT scores. Therefore, a higher GPA and test scores from you will help your coach offset the lower score of another athlete s/he might desperately wish to recruit for the team. This will make you a more valuable commodity for the coach. Remember, every little advantage counts.
Communicating with university coaches will give you a better idea of their expectations for test scores, GPA, and athletic achievement. It can be great to sort this out before beginning SAT / ACT prep so that you have a clear goal in mind. A coach may merely give you the average scores of the last incoming class, or they may tell you that you just need to meet the NCAA minimum requirements. Typically, for Division I and II schools, the recommended test scores are slightly below the university overall average. The primary exception is Ivy League schools, which will insist that you strive for the university’s typical score ranges.
Division III schools will also usually state that because coaches have less leverage to recruit, you will need to be accepted on your merits without any influence of athletics. It’s a good idea to keep your coach updated with your most recent test scores as you receive them.
Starting test prep during your grade 9 years (and no later than grade 10) can be a great way to optimize the time you’ll have before university applications roll around the senior year. Coaches will often expect to see a draft of your application in late August or early September of grade 12 in order to get the admissions office’s approval to commit to you. It is imperative to have all testing out of the way and to be able to focus on applications and essays in the summer before entering grade 12.
When it comes to SAT or ACT preparation, you’ll want to both start early and at the most convenient time as your athletic schedule allows. To accommodate our athlete’s busy schedules, we find that one-on-one tutoring often works best for them. With the wonders of technology, you can also take advantage of the option to work via online tutoring (video-conferencing). Sometimes, it can be nice to just come straight home to your own home after a long session in the pool, playing field, or gym instead of driving to a tutoring office.
Contact us for a free consultation and let’s get the ball rolling! 604.544.3033