Academics Athletic Recruiting

Is Community College The Right Fit For You?

swimmers talk after a race as a way to be loyal to their teammates

(Flickr – MissMessle)

No matter what the team or division, no student-athlete who dreams of playing at the next level should discount a college or university before learning everything there is to know about it first-hand.

Take time to get to know a campus, a coaching staff, and the other things that are important to you as a student-athlete, before you decide if you’re interested in the school or not. Throw assumptions, rumors, and stereotypes out the window if you’re really serious about finding the right opportunity to play at the next level.

Some student-athletes and their families don’t realize the advantages of examining community college opportunities because of stereotypes or rumors they might have heard. Yet many student-athletes could benefit from looking at community colleges other students most often favorite, and even find the community college route to be their perfect niche for developing both on the field and in the classroom and without the bills piling up.

Community college is a great place to work on your academics.

As hard as you worked in high school, maybe your GPA just never reached its full potential, or doesn’t reflect the effort you put in. Or, as is the case for many student-atheltes, maybe you just aren’t ready for the academic rigor of a larger four-year university.

Community college has become the perfect next step for student-athletes who find themselves in this place, and can be a really fantastic way to buff up a GPA or get some college classroom experience in under a less-threatening circumstance.

Develop skills in community college on the field and get stronger.

Your dream school may not be a community college, and I understand that.

However, the opportunity to play at your dream school may take a year or two of extra work and practice on the field to develop as a player. If this is the case for you, a community or junior college could be the perfect place to get some extra reps in and experience in order to make playing at your dream school a reality.

It’s also a great place to groom leadership skills and discipline on the field and in the weight room.

Also? If you’re an NCSA student-athlete, your membership is lifelong. So if you do end up at a community or junior college and have aspirations of someday transferring to a four-year university, we will be there to help you every step of the way.

You can take time to learn what field of study interests you in community college.

I ended up staying an extra semester in college because my freshman year, I was deciding between two very different majors and took classes is each field of study. By my sophomore year, once I had decided which route to go, there was no way I could make up the requirements by my graduation day my senior year.

Coming into college, I wasn’t prepared to pick a major; the world was my oyster, and I had so many varying interests, and I paid for it in the end, both financially, and with an extra five months on campus when my friends had all graduated and moved on.

Taking a year or two at community college provides student-athletes with time to experience different fields of study in a low-cost, low-pressure environment to really figure out what degree they want to work towards. This is the really fun part of college – and in the end, all that matters!

Get to know the courses and degree paths the community colleges in your area, or those showing interest in you as a player, have to offer. I guarantee it will excite you, and this is a really unique way a college freshman can discover what he or she wants to do with the rest of their life.

Community college can be a more cost-effective route.

Community and junior colleges have varying options for athletic scholarships. It all depends on the sport and the division they play in (like NAIA, DIII or JUCO).

However, in general, the tuition at a community or junior college is significantly lower than a 4-year college or university, and often time, offer student-athletes the option of living at home, which saves on costs, too. A partial scholarship at a large university will more than likely still come out costing you far more than the base tuition at a community or junior college.

Our scouts can help you decide if a community college might be the best first step for you to play your sport in college. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.