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Twenty Questions to Help Athletes Find Their Best College Match


To parents, academics may be the most important aspect of determining the best college match. For high school students, it may be the first thing they push to the side.

Athletes are really not that much different than non-athletes when it comes to choosing a college.

There are plenty of options, and finding the one that will most completely meet their needs means looking at more than just sport and major. From campus life to travel time to classes, weather and culture fit, there’s a lot to consider. And, often, students don’t even know what they want in a college experience.

To help student-athletes better understand their best college match, you can start by asking them the right questions. Here are 20 questions to better gauge their academic and cultural fit that will help them to start building a list of potential schools.

P.S. — it might be tempting to try grinding through all 20 questions at once. But you’ll likely get a lot of eye rolls and, “Ugh, I don’t know!” responses. Instead, ask a couple questions at a time and keep track of the answers in a notebook. That way, you can refer back when you need to.


To parents, academics may be the most important aspect of determining best college match. For high school students, it may be the first thing they push to the side. These questions help narrow down schools where your student would thrive academically.

1. What do you want to major in?

2. Would you be willing to adjust your major?

3. Do you want to be taught by full-time professors or graduate students?

4. Which type of classes do you prefer: lecture style or discussion style?

5. Will your major require an internship?

6. Do you want to take classes that interest you or would you like to stick to your major?

7. Is the prestige/reputation of the college important to you?

8. Do you fulfill the academic requirements to be accepted?

Read more: The NCAA Eligibility requirements you need to know


When students go to college, most of them will be living on their own for the first time. They need to feel at home in their university, surrounded by students they connect with. Campus culture refers to the type of students at the campus, the location, physical attributes of the campus and what stands out in the student body.

9. Are you more interested in a social campus, a commuter campus (where students tend to go home on the weekends) or a quiet campus?

10. How far away from home would you like to be?

11. Would you prefer to go to a school where you already know a lot of people?

12. What are your weather-related deal breakers?

13. Do need a lot of green space?

14. Do you prefer to be in a large city?

15. Would you like a religious university?

16. What kinds of extracurricular or social activities are you interested in?

17. Do you want to be surrounded by people who share your viewpoint?

18. Do you want a diverse environment?

19. Do you like seeing people you know around campus every day?

20. What specific experiences do you want to have in college (e.g., studying abroad)?


College is a big investment. As a parent you need to be realistic about what colleges are feasible from a financial standpoint. Ask yourself these questions to make sure you — and your student — know where things stand financially.

1. How much are you willing to pay for college and how much responsibility will fall on your student?

2. Does your student qualify for any scholarships or financial aid?

3. Will your student be supporting themselves while at college? Is the college town’s cost of living realistic?

4. Will your student need to participate in a work-study program or similar arrangement to help cover the cost of tuition?

5. Are you and/or your student willing to take out college loans? How much?

Read more: Athletic Scholarship facts

Starting with these questions can help your family start a list of potential colleges, and then from there, you can add athletic fit to further trim down your choices. Remember, you don’t have to restrict your search to four-year schools. Many junior colleges offer competitive sports programs and can be a stepping stone to a four-year college or university.

Read more: How to find your best college match

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