As a student-athlete who grew up playing several sports, you might think about specializing in just one as you embark on your high school career. Everyone assumes you will become so talented in your one sport that it will ensure a winning season, an all-star vote and a future college scholarship. While this may be true for some, make sure you know what you're giving up by specializing in one sport.
If you have a superb physical make-up and are unquestionably more talented than your peers, you may be considered a "Blue Chip" athlete, likely to be discovered by Division I college coaches—but, quite honestly, blue chip athletes are few and far between. Despite what coaches and fans tell you, most high school athletes do not fall into that category.
If your height and weight are average and you enjoy playing multiple sports, staying involved in several teams may make you a better recruit to a Division II program. Some Division II schools are given athletic budgets, not full scholarships, for a set number of team members. It is up to the head coach to figure out how he/she wants to divide the money among the recruits. Some coaches opt for a few top athletes and look to have several walk-ons. Others look for a handful of average athletes who are also excellent students and put together packages that include athletic and academic scholarships (packages that result in most of your college costs being covered). Regardless of the package, the stronger your academics are, the more money you can earn for your schooling.
Finally, there are coaches who work closely with other coaches in their university and target multiple-sport athletes. In conjunction with an academic scholarship, this sort of program can pay for your entire college education. For example, let's say your college tuition is $40,000 a year. You could earn $14,000 for volleyball and $14,000 for softball to go with $12,000 in academic scholarships each year, thus paying every cent of your tuition.
In addition, Division II sports seasons are a bit shorter than those of Division I. Usually, D-II coaches do not require athletes to live on campus during the summer months, plus the school's population is smaller. This will allow for more personal attention in and out of the classroom throughout your four-year career.
Division II is extremely competitive and a great fit for talented student-athletes who are fundamentally sound, strong team players with dedicated work ethics but perhaps were not given the gift of an above-average physical make-up.
THR College Planning is one of the nation's premier recruiting and placement programs. THR specializes in leveraging financial opportunities in the educational market. Academic development, financial aid assistance and athletic placement are keys to a successful THR plan. On average, THR has facilitated awards of $92,000 in scholarship money over four years. For further information, send an email to Info@thrcollegeplanning.com or call 1-855-847-4723 (THR GRAD).
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock