Success on the Field Starts in the Classroom

High school football players looking to get recruited to play in college often think that a state championship or highlight-reel stats will get them into their school of choice – and onto the team. But it’s their academic success that gives them the best chance to get there, not what happens on the field. Colleges look to recruit student-athletes who meet certain standards that high school players should strive to meet. Knowing what those standards are and putting in the work to excel at them is what gives high school players the best chance to get recruited.

Better students build better teamsstudent studying
The way colleges offer scholarships to football players depends on the division the college is in, but those coaches always have a limited number of athletic scholarships. (Visit this page for an in-depth look at each Division’s minimum academic requirements to qualify for athletic scholarships.) However, if a player’s grades are good enough, the school can offer them an academic scholarship to attend school.

Academic scholarships are much more plentiful than athletic scholarships, so coaches want to find as many players who are eligible for those scholarships as possible. Because of this, coaches look for players who have good grades so that they can give those players a chance at making the team without using an athletic scholarship.

report card with straight A'sMaking the grade, making the team
Schools offer academic scholarships based on grades and standardized test scores. To qualify for academic scholarships and get recruited, a student-athlete should expect to have:

  • A 3.5 grade point average (GPA)  or higher.
  • A score of 25 or higher on the ACT.
  • A score of 1200 of higher on the SAT.
  • must rank within the top 10% of his class.

These are rough estimates of what colleges look for when selecting student-athletes to offer scholarships to. Football players who want to get recruited to play in college should strive to achieve these standards to give themselves the best chance of getting a scholarship.

When a student-athlete is awarded an academic scholarship, it applies to the entire year and sometimes to the entirety of the student’s college education. This contrasts to students who get recruited through an athletic scholarship; if the student is cut from the team or quits, the athletic scholarship is withdrawn. Schools have academic requirements for athletic scholarships to apply as well, so even if a student-athlete receives one, they must still maintain grades that are good enough to keep them qualified.

The best way to get recruited to play football in college is the best way to make it into college itself – get good enough grades to qualify for an academic scholarship. It helps the school field a better football team and it helps the student-athlete pay for school. All athletes should focus on schoolwork to maximize not only their chances of playing football in college, but their chances of success in life after school.