What are the most important academic factors in the recruiting process? (Part 3)

5 Nov

“Standardized tests!”

Just reading the phrase may bring on some anxiety for you. The pressure that students feel around the SAT & ACT has taken on an almost mythical status. Students obsess about their scores and believe that their college dreams rest heavily on their test day performance.

I’m not saying that standardized tests aren’t important. They do make my top 3 academic factors in the recruiting process. What I’m saying is that they are only ONE piece of the puzzle. There are more important factors, such as your GPA & Course Schedule, discussed in PART 1 and PART 2 of this series. As a student-athlete, perhaps more important is whether or not the coach is actually recruiting you. If a coach wants you to come play for him, he may be able to seriously influence the admissions process in your favor.

Here are 4 key things to remember with regard to recruiting and standardized tests.

  1. Colleges will accept either the SAT* or the ACT. You should determine which test you like better, and then put your focus there. Free practice tests can be found online and there are many test prep companies that offer students the chance to take both exams, providing a diagnostic of your performance.
  1. Test early. College coaches often request that students test early in the junior year to give them a sense of whether or not the student-athlete’s scores are “in range” for their school. If testing doesn’t go well, you have time to study, retake the test and hopefully perform better.
  1. Each school is different. If you are looking at highly selective colleges, you may be required to submit SAT subject tests with your application. Consider taking subject tests in the spring, just after you have spent a full year studying the material. Check out this link for information on the subject test requirements & recommendations at various schools. Also note that “test optional” colleges exist. If you struggle with standardized tests, there are schools out there that do not require them. Check out the website fairtest.org for a comprehensive list.
  1. Meet the Requirements. While not all schools require the SAT/ACT in their application process, if you want to play NCAA D1, D2 or NAIA athletics you must meet minimum SAT/ACT requirements. D1 & D2 schools use the sliding scale to determine minimum test score requirements. The higher your GPA, the lower your scores can be and vice versa. Check out this link for more information on the NCAA SAT/ACT requirements. For information on the NAIA, click here.

* The structure of the SAT is changing for 2016. Students preparing to test this spring, may want to focus on the ACT as it’s more of a known entity.

This concludes my 3 part series on the most important academic factors in the recruiting process. We often hear how important academics are in the recruiting process, and you should now have a much better sense of what that actually means. Happy studying!

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