Sports at College

So, what competitive level can I expect in the US as a college athlete?


In all college sports in the US, you are placed in to an environment whereby you will have the best possible opportunity to succeed. The coaching staff and support staff around you will be of the highest quality. They are employed full-time to work towards optimizing you and your teammates’ performance and, importantly, lead the team to win as many games/competitions as possible. They also have a vested interest in your personal development on and off the sports field. A coach will often fill more than one role and can also become your mentor, confidant and advisor.


No! It goes without saying that only a small number of college athletes make the grade to turn professional. But college in the US offers so much more than that! The entire experience is life-changing and something you will remember fondly for the rest of your life. Plus, you will be obtaining your degree, which you will have for life once you’ve earned it. This degree will help provide you with further career options beyond university, which may or may not be in the world of sport. Regardless, your experience will undoubtedly stand out to employers who recognise the commitment and discipline required to succeed as a student-athlete.


At all levels of college sport, you will train nearly every day of the week during your season. Even on rest days you will be expected to make sure you are getting treatment and keeping yourself in prime condition. The training facilities are exceptional and enable you to propel yourself to the next level. You will undoubtedly improve as an athlete at college in the US.


College Sports is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US!


There are a number of different divisions in the US college sports system. The NCAA has three divisions, D1, D2 and D3.

NCAA D1 is made up of larger schools (approximately 350) with more sports teams and generally more sports scholarship funding available. School sizes range from 5,000 – 60,000 students. They also have high academic entry requirements, meaning that it is only athletes competing at the highest standard (national/international) with strong grades and test scores who will be considered at this level.
Examples of NCAA D1 colleges: Syracuse University , San Diego State University

In D2 (made up of approximately 325 schools), there is also sports and academic scholarship available, but not quite as much as there is in D1. Generally, D2 schools will be slightly smaller (2,000 – 12,000 students) but the sporting level is still very strong.
Examples of NCAA D2 colleges: Nova Southeastern UniversityAdelphi University

D3 schools (made up of 442 schools) only offer academic scholarships and do not offer sports scholarships. It is less common that we tend to send students to D3 for financial reasons. However, the level is still highly competitive and these institutions are renowned for being very strong, academically.
Examples of NCAA D3 colleges: Milwaukee School of EngineeringConnecticut College

The NAIA is a separate organization from the NCAA but has 210 member schools. They all offer athletic and academic scholarship, and often compare similarly to the size and level of NCAA D2 institutions.
Examples of NAIA colleges: Keiser UniversityGeorgia Gwinnett College

The NJCAA is a little different. Here, the member schools are known as ‘Junior Colleges’ which are 2-year schools. They are in place for student-athletes who may not initially make the grade (academically) to attend a 4-year college. Instead, students can attend a Junior College (JUCO) for two years, before switching to a 4-year college for the final two years. So, the four-year schedule does not change and you can still earn your degree!
Examples of NJCAA colleges: Monroe Community CollegeDaytona State College

It is worth noting that student-athletes should not get too hung up on what division they compete in. Athleticademix consultants will give you the best advice possible based on their expert advice, but what matters most is that the college you choose has everything you want from this amazing opportunity.


Colleges offer different sports, all of which have established times of the year in which they compete in their main season. Here’s a list below:

Fall (Autumn) – August to November
Winter – September to March
Spring – January to May

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