What college level do you want / can you play at? Everyone wants play for a DI school right! But how realistic is that? Each college level has a very different outlook and expectation on athletic/academic requirements and the balance between them. Which one is best suited for you?

Let's start with what college coaches and programs are looking for, at the most basic level, in their athletes.

WHAT ARE COLLEGE COACHES LOOKING FOR IN YOU?

#1: GRADES - GRADES - GRADES!!

Colleges are looking for highly motivated, well organized, smart, enthusiastic girls who can juggle an intense athletic program and maintain very good grades. This is no joke!  In college... a B can mean Benched, and a C can mean Cut!! Ouch right. 

#2: EXPERIENCE

Colleges are looking for the following:

DI Schools

High school experience: 3-4 years on varsity with at least 2 years as a starter.

Club experience: 4-5 years of high-level travel ball.

Awards: Multiple-time All-Conference, All-Area, All-State honors.

DII Schools

High school experience: 2-3 years on varsity with at least 1-2 years as a starter.

Club experience: 3-4 years of high-level travel ball.

Awards: Multiple-time All-Conference, All-Area, potential All-State honors.

DIII Schools and NAIA

High school experience: 2-3 years on varsity with at least 1-2 years as a starter.

Club experience: 2-3 years of travel ball.

Awards: All-Conference, All-Area honors.

#3: MEASURABLES

Each division is looking for a set of measurable data (at your current level) per position (see spreadsheet below). Remember, some of these are;

 

Raw stats: (Like height) These are out of your control. They are also not set in stone, so don't consider your height a complete deal breaker if you don't 'measure up'!

Physical stats: (Like speed and throw velocity) These are measured against yourself and not your competition, so they can sometimes be considered a more accurate measurement of your athletic ability. They can also be constantly improved upon with hard work.

Competitive stats (Like batting average, home runs, etc...) These are important stats and you should use them as a guide to help you improve. But these stats can change drastically depending on the level of competition, so don't put too much weight on these.

MAKE NOTE:  If your competitive stats are far exceeding the numbers below. Consider your competition level and maybe think about moving up in age or skill level!

What can you expect Each division has it's own requirements and balance between academics and athletics. In general expect the following:

DI

These schools are going to be bigger, the class sizes will be larger, they will be very difficult to get into, they usually have the nicest amenities, and they expect the highest level of commitment to athletics and academics. That means up before 6am and lights out usually after 11pm... with not a lot of room for an active social life.

Check out this article on DI athletes

DII

You are going to see a better balance between academics and athletics. Plus you'll even find time for a social life (at least a partial one).

DIII

There's going to be even a better balance at a DIII school, plus they usually have the most financial aid available. You'll be able to join more clubs and have a little more social life. With that being said, they still offer a high level of academic and athletic competition.

NAIA

Think smaller class sizes, a sense of community, and knowing your teachers instead of being a small fish in a big pond. Lots of upside with this division, but there's a chance no one will know the name of the school you play for... if that matters.

JuCo

Junior Colleges can offer a developmental type of system for softball and academics if your end goal is to get a scholarship to a larger school. This is also a good way to save money by getting your electives out of the way.

Check out some "Day in the Life of a College Softball Player" vidoes for a more details look.

For more information on College Division Guidelines :

Playing Time One last thing we want you to remember when your thinking about the different divisions, their expectations of you and your expectations of them is your playing time. For a lot of you college will be the final chapter in your softball career.

Would you rather say you played for a DI school that everyone has heard of but you rode the bench for most of that time. OR... Would you rather play for a DIII school that you played almost every game, got tons of reps, and were a contributing factor to that teams success?

NEITHER ANSWER IS WRONG!!!  It all depends on you and want you want out of your college softball experience! We just want this to be something that you think about, especially as you start to narrow down your choices! Knowing yourself and want you want is JUST AS IMPORTANT AS knowing what the school is expecting of you!

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