What You Need to Know Before Joining a College Team

As you contemplate heading to college and continuing your athletic career, there are few things you should consider. You're embarking on a very exciting time of your life. This is the time to be prepared to:

  • meet your lifelong friends and create memories with them
  • be challenged like you’ve never been before
  • perform at your best early in the morning and late in the evening
  • develop skills that will help you in your future following your four years on a team
  • travel to places you may not otherwise see!

Being a part of a team is busy, rewarding, tiring, and fun, all at the same time. College athletics has a level of camaraderie and accountability that can only be found when you're pushed to grow as an athlete and a teammate. Here are a few things to think about as you make the decision to join a college team.

How Do You Become a Member of a Team?

Students may be recruited through the athletic department at the college, or they may be permitted to try out for or walk onto a team. Contact the athletic department and the head coach of the team you're interested in being a part of.

What Are the Benefits of Playing College Sports?

There are many positive benefits such as learning how to manage time and developing your leadership and communication skills. You'll also make friends with similar interests, and learn from a passionate coach, all while playing the sport you love. You'll develop teamwork skills and mental skills that are a big part of developing characterconfidence, resilience, engagement, respect, and toughness.  

What Is the Time Commitment Like?

Each sport has a declared season, and the NCAA practice limit is 20 hours weekly during that time. There are also optional off-season workouts available to student-athletes run by certified performance coaches. In addition, away games require travel and can potentially result in missed class time during the season. Additional team responsibilities can also include study tables, team building, volunteer work, and fundraising.

What Paperwork is Required by the NCAA for Division III?

Each student-athlete is required to participate yearly in a meeting that covers rules and education about NCAA, Institutional and Athletic Department policies. A yearly physical is required along with Concussion Baseline Testing and Education.

What are the Academic Requirements?

In order to compete, a student-athlete must remain academically eligible by enrolling in at least 12 credits each semester and remaining in good academic standing while making satisfactory progress toward a degree, as determined by the institution.

Why Should I Be a Part of a Team?

Not only will you develop leadership skills that will benefit you as you work with others throughout your life, you'll also experience a sense of satisfaction that comes from being a part of something bigger than yourself. When you commit to a team and put their needs ahead of your own, it allows your peers and coaches to push you past your comfort level and helps you to grow in a college athletics environment, which can be life changing…and FUN!!!

Most importantly, as a college athlete you'll get support from some of the most influential people in your lifeyour coaches and teammates.  

{ Return to Inside College Admissions for more posts. }


  • May 7 2019 at 10:03 am
    Cindy B
    I was considering trying out as a walk on to the soccer team, however I also plan on taking 17 credits as an incoming freshman. Would this credit load, in addition to picking up a sport, be too much to handle? Thanks - Cindy Berkey
  • May 8 2019 at 2:13 pm
    Amanda Bailey
    Being a student-athlete definitely requires the skill of time management. College is a time of transition and we typically see our first year student-athletes carrying anywhere from 14-16 credits in that first semester and 16-18 credits after that. Between Faculty advisors and Coaches you will have the support to make the decision that is best for you.

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