During my seven years as a Division I coach at both Southern Methodist University and the University of Southern California I was fortunate to observe the transition junior golfers face when they become student-athletes at the collegiate level. Additionally, having been a junior and college golfer myself, it is my hope to provide insight into the necessary qualities young aspiring college golfers must possess to compete at the collegiate level. For the past three and a half years I have, through my business Road To College Golf, assisted over 120 families navigate the world of junior golf and manage the college placement process.
As your summer draws to a close, a new school year begins. You must now transition from junior golfer to student-athlete. Being a student-athlete, at any level, requires a significant commitment and an ability to manage your golf and school time efficiently, plan out your daily schedule and follow through on your assignments. The demands of a student-athlete are even greater in college and it is critical to develop the appropriate habits in high school.
College golf coaches want committed student-athletes. They will look closely at your academic profile (GPA, SAT/ACT, class rank) during the recruiting process. The demands on a college golfer’s time are as great or greater than any college sport. Golf coaches understand this and are not only recruiting talented golfers, but also players that can handle their academic load. Additionally, a great benefit for a coach to recruit a top student is that a prospective student-athlete (PSA) may be eligible for academic aid and therefore not require a coach to use his NCAA allotted athletic aid (for Division I & II). Finally, the more accomplished your academic profile, the greater number of college options you will have to choose from.
For those of you that may have struggled initially academically in high school make sure you finish strong. Coaches will look at your academic trend and take notice of those that have improved their GPA throughout their high school career. Therefore, never give up on improving your grades and remain steadfast in your academic pursuits. Also, for those of you who are going to be seniors make sure you continue to do your best in the classroom and keep your foot on the academic pedal.
Keep in mind that to be eligible to compete in Division I or II athletics you must be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center (www.eligibilitycenter.org). There are specific academic-eligibility requirements, which include your academic GPA, SAT/ACT score and number of core courses taken in high school. A great resource to learn more about the NCAA Eligibility Center is the 2010-2011 Guide for the College Bound Student-Athlete, which can be downloaded at www.ncaapublications.com.
Academics should always be a top priority. The new school year brings an opportunity to set new goals and create habits that will lead to success in the classroom both in high school and college. Enjoy the rest of the summer on the links and commit to excelling in the classroom this fall.
Coach Ted Gleason
President & Founder
Road To College Golf