So, you're looking to turn that fantastic senior year into an opportunity to play in college -- awesome! But, do you know when you should commit to an offer? What about the difference between Division I and Division II? Are you ready for that type of commitment? Overall, there are loads of questions that any potential NCAA athlete need to answer before deciding on any offers and opportunities.
Are you ready to take your game to another level? Of course, jumping at the first offer you get can be a terribly premature idea -- don't rush this process or you're more likely to be unhappy and unhealthy when things don't work out down the line. Maybe sure you weigh all your options equally and fairly -- where are the schools located? Do they have the weather you like? Is it close to home? Do they have a major you like? Don't forget, you might be getting a scholarship to play sports, but you'll still be expected to get an education as well. Seasons typically only last three or four months and you'll be school for the rest of the year, so don't force yourself to learn things you don't want to! Make sure you love the campus or city your school would be located in -- if you're a country boy, it's probably not a great idea to commit to a school in the middle of New York City.
It's OK to turn offers down, additionally, so don't feel bad for not taking any offers, no matter how generous, because, at the end of the day, your happiness is the most important factor in the entire process. The worst thing you could possibly do is purposefully put yourself in a situation that will be tough to succeed in.
Now, the big question -- do I go DI or DII? Like we said before, it really, honestly, truly depends on what you desire, want to chase, and where you'd like to be in five years. Ultimately, sports can be a vehicle for success, but it doesn't have to happen on the field. By the time you're heading off to college, you might not have the same interests or desires you did when you committed to that sport originally. Do you want to spend your time practicing twice a day? Are you ready to commit most, if not all, of your free time to the sport and its craft? That means going to the gym on your off days, eating healthy all the time, and making sure you're well-rested.
If the answer is yes, DI might be for you after all. However, if you're ready to learn your craft in something else, say writing or marketing, or, really, anything, and don't believe like practicing every day is truly the answer for you anymore, consider DII. Although the demands will be similar and the competition just as tough, you'll know that you've got your priorities straight on. DII, make no mistake, is no joke -- it will still dominate your life, but without the expectation of it doing so. You'll have time for other clubs, opportunities, and friends as well. As we've said before, it's important to be not only an elite athlete, but a well-rounded student athlete as well. So, at the end of the day, you've simply just got to do a little bit of soul searching -- what do you want? What would make you happiest? Only you can make such a colossal decision -- not your friends, parents, or coaches. Listen to your heart, the growing path in front of you, and we promise that the correct decision will make itself clear. Good luck!