Getting to Know the NCAA Eligibility Criteria




The National Collegiate Athletic Association is the best partner in your journey toward your athletic career. A member-led organization that works closely with college athletes and their well-being, the NCAA has various programs to encourage budding athletes across all areas of atheltics. It can be confusing when you are trying to navigate your athletic career while completing high school. This is where an organization like the NCAA provides the support you are looking for.


To enroll in the different programs run by the NCAA, one needs to meet the eligibility criteria. There are multiple aspects that are considered when evaluating one’s eligibility for NCAA programs. Some aspects of this evaluation include the following:


Academic Eligibility

● Ensure that Core Courses are taken by the candidate.

● Achieve a qualifying score on ACT or SAT.


Athletic Eligibility

● Amateurism – NCAA assesses whether the candidate has played in a professional capacity at any level

● Age – There are certain age-related specifications for the candidate to be eligible for the NCAA DI or D2 levels.


Choosing the NCAA Core Courses


As is clear with the NCAA eligibility criteria, the NCAA-approved core courses are a critical part of the overall evaluation process. The qualifying criteria for a course to become an NCAA core course are also quite stringent. Not all core courses in all schools are considered NCAA core courses.

If you intend to apply and become eligible for the NCAA programs, you need to ensure you take the proper courses in high school. To identify whether your school has any NCAA Core Courses and, if they do, which ones are necessar, you need to go through the list available on the NCAA website. Another option is to work closely with your school counselor, who can guide you through the process with their expertise.


Questions to ask your Counselor


Working with your high school counselor can help you to quickly find answers to your questions, especially if you are applying for the NCAA programs. Understanding the eligibility criteria on your own can be tricky, especially when you are choosing your core courses. If you intend to apply, it’s recommended to first choose the NCAA core courses offered by your high school and then plan the remaining to meet the criteria for the school. This is where a counselor’s guidance can be precious.

When working with your school counselor, make sure you have done your homework and have a list of questions ready to clarify your doubts. Here are some sample questions you can ask your counselor, especially for selecting the right core courses.

  1. Which are the core courses offered that qualify as NCAA Core Courses?

  2. Which are the courses I should choose that will help me with a flexible schedule, allowing for sufficient practice time?

  3. What are the best entrance exams for my career and which one should I target?

  4. Which courses will help me prepare for the entrance exams while balancing my athletic practice?

  5. Should I opt for any additional core courses apart from the prescribed limit?

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