Updated: Jul 13, 2022
You’ve played a sport all your life and dream of playing in the NCAA, and now you're thinking seriously about college choices. It might be challenging to find a perfect match to balance sports and academics. A student may be surprised that to play at the Dl or even DIII level, you may have to compromise your college list. You want to compete at the varsity level. Still, you can only compete at smaller colleges, when a big university is preferred. Or you can compete at a big university, but the academics don’t match up. One solution could be college club sports.
Club sports can bridge the gap between the highly competitive, time-consuming life of a varsity athlete and intramural sports, which tend not to be competitive and organized. Many club teams are for student-athletes who want to compete against other talented athletes, but who want an alternative to the intensity of varsity sports. Club teams compete against teams from other schools and are a great way to stay active on campus, play the sport you love, and represent your school. They provide an alternative avenue that can allow the student to pursue other interests in college. Being involved in a club can also help in integrating into the college social scene.
Club teams can operate differently from institution to institution. Many may have tryouts and waiting lists, depending on the size of the school and the sport. In contrast, others take anyone with knowledge and interest in the sport. Even though these club sports are more relaxed than varsity teams, many compete for national championships.
The clubs are usually student-run, which allows for leadership opportunities. Funding varies with college and sport; some have a budget within the school; others may rely on grants or fundraising. Active leadership on these teams can prove to be a resume builder- organizing players, schedules, transportation, and budgets.
Bottom line, if you want to play the sport you have always enjoyed, or try something different and non-traditional, the opportunity awaits you. Do your research and find out what colleges offer!
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