Going away to college or university can be an overwhelming experience for any young person, let alone a student athlete. You’ll have a lot of pressure on you to do well both academically and in your sport of choice. Whether you’re going to college on an athletic scholarship or simply planning on playing sports, it’s a good idea to start this new venture in your life with a game plan.
1. Know Your Eligibility Requirements
Most colleges require that student athletes maintain a certain grade-point average to continue playing the sport. There are also different standards for those who have a scholarship. Before you go to school, be sure you’re aware of exactly what will be expected of you. This will help you stay on top of things and avoid a situation where a bad month and a few slipped grades put your entire education in jeopardy.
2. Get Familiar with Your Resources
Most schools offer academic services, such as tutoring or counseling. Be familiar with the help that’s available before you start each semester. Check resources, note them down and don’t hesitate to make use of them if you begin struggling. You also might want to consider speaking with your coach. Since maintaining academic success is so crucial to being part of the team, some teams offer study groups to help support members. If your team doesn’t have this yet, consider starting a study group yourself. A lot of your teammates will be in the same position as you, and some of you might even share classes. Encouraging each other is always helpful.
3. Learn How to Manage Your Time
Most college freshman are shocked by how difficult it is to manage their time. It helps if you were particularly active in high school, but even that can’t fully prepare you for the hectic stress of college life. It will be difficult at first, but it’s best to try to embrace it if you can. Time management is an incredibly important life skill, and this is a good opportunity to learn it. The first step is accepting that schoolwork and athletics are why you’re going to college. This means you’re going to have to prioritize them over socializing. If you get into drinking and partying too much, your performance is going to suffer. At the same time, you don’t want to socially isolate yourself, either. Try to find the balance in between.
4. Think of Your Reputation
People make mistakes. However, when student athletes make mistakes, it reflects poorly on their sports team as well as the entire school. Therefore, professors and administrators tend to keep a watchful eye on athletes. Make them proud of you by demonstrating mature and respectful behavior wherever you go. This is especially important if you do occasionally drink or party. It’s fine to have a great time as long as you can maintain control over yourself. By creating a good reputation and earning the respect of your professors, you’re more likely to receive understanding and assistance if you begin struggling with your studies.
5. Talk with Your Mentors
Maybe your father played sports in college, and you’re following in his footsteps. Maybe you have an older sibling, an aunt or someone else in your community who has done what you’re doing now. If so, don’t be afraid to go to this person for advice. Most older people love sharing their wisdom, and you might receive some tips that can help you survive the hard times.
Related Resource: 20 Best Deals: Small Colleges for Athletic Types
College is going to be challenging. It’s best to just accept this and commit to yourself to see it through no matter what. Almost everyone reaches a point when they think about giving up, but as long as you accept responsibility for your life and keep working hard, you’ll be sure to succeed.