By Nicole Morell
Most student athletes have the dream of successfully being recruited and getting to play for their favorite Division I school. However, it’s a hard fact that this isn’t going to happen for everyone. Courtney shared last week about the benefits of DII, DIII and NAIA schools, but there was another great option we didn’t get a chance to learn about: junior college. Junior college does not have to be looked at as a last resort. In fact junior college can be a great time to knock out some core classes while developing your game to play at that DI school or wherever the next level might be for you. Below you will find some reasons junior college might be the right fit, and why not to rule it out.
Develop Yourself Academically
Like a four year school, you have to remember that your junior college experience isn’t just about sports. Junior colleges (JUCOs) offer an amazing opportunity for smaller class sizes and more professor interaction. The jump from high school to college can definitely be challenging academically, but junior college acts as a great bridge between the two. You’ll get used to the college workload, but your chances of being lost among hundreds of other students in a lecture hall are a lot slimmer.
Develop Yourself Physically
Sure, there are cases like LeBron James, who stood 6’7” weighed 225lbs as a 17 year old, but for many of us, we’re not so lucky (or such freaks of nature). Junior college is a great time to develop yourself physically and develop your game. The junior college sports scene will give you a chance to play against some top athletes and develop a skill set to handle them. Staying engaged in your sport in the two years following high school will help you to increase your abilities and give you a chance to get your body in top performing shape as you continue to grow into it. Maybe it will even help you become the next Aaron Rodgers.
Show the Four Year Schools Your Commitment to Your Sport
Playing at a JUCO will show colleges how committed you are to your sport. The willingness to continue to train and compete show cases determination. JUCO gives you a chance to up your game, and in turn show college coaches how much you have improved and how dedicated you are.
Get a handle on your courses
Take advantage of the smaller class sizes and close knit environment by taking core classes to help you be prepared when you make the jump to a four year school. It’s important not to look at junior college as a lost opportunity and spend your time taking pottery classes (though one might be fun!) and find out core requirements or Gen Eds for you major and take those classes. Many classes transfer over, but be sure to do your research about which credits will transfer to a four year school, so you don’t find yourself taking Writing 101 twice, because your first attempt didn’t transfer.
Lastly, Save Some Cash in the Process
Junior Colleges offer cheaper tuition than four year schools. As you play your sport for two years and knock out some core classes, you’re saving big bucks. Some state schools even offer programs for reduced tuition if you have completed your associate degree at an area junior or community college.
JUCOs are a great choice to ready yourself academically and physically for four year programs, they aren’t just a last chance option, they are a great option for many athletes. Don’t forget about Aaron Rodgers, either, he’s just one of many JUCO success stories.
Visit the below links for more information on Junior and Community Colleges
National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) : http://www.njcaa.org/
Junior College Football rankings, programs and more: http://jcfootball.scout.com/
Search for Two year programs at College Board: http://collegesearch.collegeboard.com/search/adv_typeofschool.jsp
To get access to more advanced college recruiting tips, strategies and advice visit our website and RESOURCES section.
The SportsForce team, which is comprised of former college and professional athletes and coaches, is relentlessly committed to providing an ongoing education to help you best navigate your journey as a student-athlete, parent or coach to reach your potential.
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