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College Athletics

Preparing for College Athletics

Every year, several Shorewood students go on to be college athletes. Our students participate in NCAA Divisions 1, 2, and 3, and in a wide variety of varsity sports. Many student athletes also choose to pursue club or intramural sports in college either because those teams are more appropriate for their level, or because they do not want the time commitment required by college varsity sports. 

A Few Tips for Students Aspiring to College Athletics

  • Be both ambitious and realistic. See the chart below from the NCAA. Very few high school athletes go on to play college varsity sports, both because of the athletic competition and the academic requirements. 
  • Treat this like a job search. Develop a cover letter and resume focused on your sport, including statistics of performance and contact info for current coach.
  • Contact college coaches by name, not a general "To whom it may concern" approach.
  • Research the colleges athletic and academic requirements to make sure you can meet them. Communicate both academic and athletic standing to coaches.
  • Put together a short highlights video of performances and a statistics.
  • Start sophomore or junior year.
  • Visit the college and request a visit with the coach. See if you can talk to current athletes at the college. Write a note afterwards thanking the coach for his or her time.
  • Find out about summer programs that might be available at different colleges.
  • Follow through periodically with phone calls or emails or updates on performance to coaches.
  • Most of all:  the student should handle the search and communications. The parent needs to stay in the background when contacting or interviewing with coaches.

Percent of High School Athletes Going on to College and Pro Athletics

chart showing stats of several mens and womens sports

Source:  NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete 2023-2024

For tables by sport, see NCAA Probability of Competing Beyond High School

NCAA Initial Eligibility Brochure p1

infographic with # of units of English, math, and other subjects required by NCAA for athletes

NCAA Initial Eligibility Brochure 23-24 p2

Infographic shows what students can do in each grade of high school to prep for college sports


NCAA Guide for the College Bound Athlete 2023-24

Start here:  this is the guide to college athletics and navigating the eligibility process.

NCAA Eligibility Center

Every prospective athlete should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center partway through high school. It is generally recommended that students register at the beginning of sophomore year, but students can also register later, in the fall of junior year. The planning will be easier the sooner you register and begin making sure that the core courses count for both Shoreline School District requirements and for the strict NCAA core course requirements.

NCAA Resources for Student Athletes

See for links to guides on this page and to more specialized resources.

Want to Play College Sports?

Learn about the NCAA Divisions, recruiting, and much more.

NAIA specializes in small college athletics. Find out about the 250 colleges, eligibility requirements, and much more.

College Recruiting Parent Zone Facebook Group

Hosted by blogger and authority on college athletics recruiting Michelle Kretzschmer.

Article: Consider Ten Basic Questions When Applying as a Student Athlete

By Willard Dix, Forbes Contributor and nationally known College Admissions Expert. "My short advice is that athletes and parents should take great care when researching and applying to institutions if playing a sport is part of the plan for college." The article contains resources to help you proceed deliberately in your research.

College Recruiting Checklist

Free spreadsheet to help organize your process and research. From DIY Rankings blog.

NCAA High School Website Resources

The NCAA has scores of guides, pages, and links that will be helpful. This page isn't pretty, but is a plentiful list of resources by subtopics like rules, grading scales & GPA information, managing your courses, and more.

Probability of Competing Beyond High School

Students and families should be ambitious and realistic. While there are 8 million high school athletes, only 480,000 will go on to NCAA Athletics. That is 6%. Of that 6%, only a tiny fraction will enter professional sports.

Get in the Game

An excellent starting point for families, this guide is produced by NACAC, the National Guide for College Admissions Counselors. 2022

NCAA Initial Eligibility Brochure

This guide is pictured at left.

Guide to Playing NAIA Sports 2023

Some colleges participate in the NAIA league rather than the NCAA. Here's a guide to those colleges and the NAIA.

Quick Reference Guide to the National Letter of Intent

You hear about athletes "signing" for a particular school, but what does that mean? There is lots of fine print that prospective athletes & their families should read. Source: