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Playing Rugby in College

Are you serious about playing rugby in college? Collegiate rugby is the best way to continue to compete at the highest level, make the best friends you will ever have, and improve your chances of being identified for a national team.

For aspiring collegiate rugby players, as rugby continues to grow at an exponential rate in the U.S., you have more options than ever to find a college that will fit both your academic AND your rugby needs!

As the number of Varsity and Elite Club Rugby programs grow and are given athletic recruitment slots, players MUST be aware how much a student athlete’s academic record play a role in their recruitment chances. Why recruit a player who wouldn’t even last a quarter at their school? Good advice for any rugby player looking to don a collegiate rugby jersey is not only succeeding on the pitch but in the classroom. The stronger you are in your studies, the higher the likelihood of being recruited by a top tier rugby program.


Whether you are uncertain about going to college or you just need some reassurance you're on the right track, here are a few reasons to go to college*:

  • Every bit of education you get after high school increases the chances you'll earn good pay. Most college graduates earn more money during their working years than people who stop their education at high school earn.

  • The more education you get the more likely it is you will always have a job. According to one estimate, by the year 2028, there will be 19 million more jobs for educated workers than there are qualified people to fill them.

  • Continuing education after high school is much more important for your generation than it was for your parents' generation.Today most good jobs require more than a high school diploma. Businesses want to hire people who know how to think and solve problems.

  • Education beyond high school gives you a lot of other benefits, including meeting new people, taking part in new opportunities to explore your interests, and experiencing success.

*Adapted from

High school rugby players are attractive candidates for colleges. Many schools look for good athletes who will perform well in the classroom and add to the campus community through participation in sports:

  1. High school rugby players learn to fit practice, school, social obligations and even part-time work into their schedules.

  2. Teamwork = teamwork. Rugby players are used to doing their best for the group. Getting along with roommates, taking part in group study sessions, and working with lab partners are natural for them.

  3. Commitment. Continued participation in high school rugby indicates a student’s willingness to persist in a demanding regimen. A student’s commitment to something outside himself/herself shows maturity. Colleges look for students who performed well and stuck with a sport, who will play their hearts out and stay on a team, as this is an indicator for retention in college.

  4. Good sports make good schools. High school rugby players will most likely compete well on the college level and create winning teams. Winning sports programs build pride and tradition in an institution, and that benefits all students.

  5. Diversity university. On the playing field, students from various backgrounds meet as equals and become friends. Players do not have to like each other, but they do need to accept each other and spend a lot of time together, which cuts away initial cultural barriers and preconceptions and often leads to friendship.

  6. Homesick cure. Most first-year students miss family, friends and home comforts. But participating in rugby keeps the players busy and fills their time.

  7. Stress less. Academic and social tensions sometimes run high at college, and physical activity is a great release.

College Planning Resources


Once you have decided that college is a goal, the next step is proper planning. You will need to make sure you are taking the correct classes that meet eligibility requirements for admission. Each college or university will have their own specific requirements, but the NCAA requirements are a good starting point. Check with your school guidance counselor to make sure you are on track.


  • Graduate from high school.

  • Complete these 16 core courses (A-G Requirements):

    • ✓ Four years/Eight semesters of English

    • ✓ Three years/Six semesters of math (Algebra I or higher)

    • ✓ Two years/Four semesters of Natural or Physical Science (including one year of lab science if offered by your high school)

    • ✓ One additional year/two semesters of English, math, or natural or physical science

    • ✓ Two years/four semesters of social science; and

    • ✓ Four years/eight semesters of extra core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy).

  • Earn a 2.000 grade-point average or better in your core courses. And,

  • Earn a combined SAT score of 820 or higher or an ACT sum score of 68 or higher.


  • College coaches who have a relationship with the admissions department and can offer “admission support” will often choose a player that is the better student first. Coaches do not look for students who possess athletics ability only.

  • The higher level academic universities require higher levels of academic success for admission. Start working early at being a good student.

  • You can potentially double the number of colleges you can attend and participate in rugby at by having at least a cumulative 3.5+ GPA.


More complete and specific answers to academic questions can be found either with your academic counselor or advisor.


  • Start planning now!

  • Meet with your counselor early in your freshman year to discuss your high school and college goals.

  • Work hard to get the best grades possible. Stay focused on your schoolwork.

  • Take challenging classes that will prepare you for college.

  • Investigate college requirements.

  • Take classes that match your high school’s list of college-approved coursework.

  • Take interest and skills assessments to help you think about possible career options.

  • Participate in meaningful extracurricular activities.

  • If you fall behind, do not take short cuts. Classes you take should be four-year college preparatory.

  • If you receive a less than satisfactory grade in a college-required course, there is time to repeat and improve your overall grade point average.


  • Register (early) to take the ACT, SAT or both.

  • Take SAT Subject Tests if required by the colleges you are interested in attending.

  • Continue to take college preparatory courses.

  • Take a rigorous course load. This is your most important academic year!

  • Get to know your teachers. They will likely write college recommendation letters for you.

  • Before registering for classes for your senior year, check with your high school counselor (or with a professional certified academic advisor) to confirm the number of core courses that you need to complete your senior year.

  • Meet with your counselor or other guides and advocates to discuss your progress and future plans.

  • Attend college and financial aid events.

  • Participate in extracurricular activities.

  • Consider possible career options and investigate the type of education that is needed.

  • Request materials from schools that interest you and visit their websites.

  • Request admissions and financial aid forms.

  • Research private scholarship options.

  • Arrange campus visits to those schools that interest you.

  • Before registering for classes for your senior year, check with your high school counselor (or with a professional certified academic advisor) to confirm the number of core courses that you need to complete your senior year.


  • Take the ACT and/or SAT again, if necessary. The majority of colleges will use the best scores from each section of the ACT or SAT to determine your best cumulative score.

  • Continue to take college-preparatory courses.

  • Continue to work hard to get the best grades possible.

  • Graduate on time (in eight academic semesters).

    • September-November

      • Arrange campus visits to those schools that interest you (it is okay to visit more than once).

      • Take or retake the ACT and/or SAT in the fall.

      • Select the schools to which you will apply. Make a list of deadlines for each school.

      • Create a resume of your academic, athletic, work activities as well as other achievements.

      • Ask for recommendations (if required) from teachers, counselors, coaches, and others who can comment on your abilities and talents.

      • Attend a financial aid event.

    • December - February

      • Apply to four or more colleges that interest you. Some many have earlier or later deadlines. Make copies of each application.

      • Apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1.

      • Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) for accuracy.

      • Apply for scholarships offered by the colleges to which you have applied.

    • March - May

      • Have your final high school transcript sent to the colleges to which you have applied.

      • Choose a college and notify in writing those you do not plan to attend.

      • Notify the rugby coach of your admissions to the institution and confirmation of attendance.

      • Send in any required forms (Statement of Intent to Register) and/or deposits.


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