Requirements to Become a College Athlete

So what are the requirements to become a College athlete? How old do you need to be? Which qualifications do you need? We will help explain all of your requirements for college in more detail.


So, what are the requirements to become a college athlete? Well, we will explain more below!

This is an extremely broad question but, essentially, the following tasks are essential:

Important! You need to have done these things before you leave for the US, not before you get started with Athleticademix. The above points can be done with help and guidance from Athleticademix.

Volleyball game at Purdue University, Indiana


The SAT is an American college entrance exam. It is divided into two parts, English and Mathematics. The ACT is the same but with a Science section added to the test.

You need a SAT/ACT result for two different reasons. Schools usually require a minimum SAT score for you to be admitted to that institution. The score requirements can differ significantly between schools.

The second reason is that you cannot compete in the NCAA D1, NCAA D2 or NAIA unless you meet their test result requirements. If a student-athlete does not meet these requirements, that individual will only be eligible to compete in NCAA D3 or NJCAA (JUCO).

The SAT test has a scoring range between 400 and 1600, so the individual English and Maths sections are worth 200-800 points, respectively.

SAT and ACT tests are offered only a few times per year and you should therefore aim to book a test date as soon as you can. Places for the exams do fill up quickly! The tests are offered in a number of locations all of the UK. Athleticademix will assist you in making the most suitable arrangements and providing each client with help and advice in preparation for the exam.

You can also take the SAT or ACT test more than once. The benefit of doing this is that you may be able to improve either your English score, Maths score, or both! You will then be able to keep your best score. This is one of the key requirements to become a college athlete in America.

Sprinter at the University of Kentucky


Many student-athletes from the UK head to college in the US at the age of 18 (immediately after completing A-Levels or BTEC Level 3 Diploma in August). Another option is to take a gap year and go the following year. After this point, it is not possible for a student-athlete to obtain a sports scholarship at college in the US.

You complete your A-Levels or BTEC Level 3 Diploma in June 2020. You can then go to college in the US in any of the following months:

If, instead of starting college in the USA, you choose to begin studying at university in the UK at age 18 or 19, you can still opt to “transfer” to an American university. The only rule is that you must have become a full-time student within one year or less after finishing your full-time High School education in your home country.


There are two different organisations that govern college sports, the NCAA & NAIA. Both have different rules and requirements to become a college athlete and be eligible to compete.

NCAA D1 uses a “sliding scale” system which means that the better your high school grades are, the lower the SAT/ACT score required. Put simply:

The NCAA D2 also uses the sliding scale, but the minimum requirements are slightly altered:

You can find the exact numbers on the NCAA website here: NCAA – sliding scale. 

The NAIA requirements are more straight forward for student-athletes. There is no sliding scale, instead the minimum GPA required is 2.0 and the minimum SAT score needed is 970 (total).

Read more about how this can affect scholarship packages on our scholarships at college page.

University of Michigan Men’s Soccer player


There is no definitive answer to this question. The most important thing is that you’re fully committed to the process before you get started. However, the earlier you decide, the more options and time you will have available.

Most US college coaches recruit players 1-2 years prior to them joining the squad. As a result, their athletic scholarship budget has been spent and they can no longer make offers to other players. So, more scholarship funding is still on offer when you begin the process with Athleticademix early!

Most players in the UK begin the college search between the ages of 16-18. An ideal time to start would be as soon as your GCSE exams/National 5’s are over with. For Danish students, it’s after your first year of Gymnasium.

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