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Why Junior College Might Make Sense for You

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With all the benefits a junior college has to offer, many student-athletes should seriously consider pursuing this opportunity.

When you see “junior college” you may not think competitive athletic programs with future NCAA Division I and II athletes. But many are now giving junior college a serious look.

Junior colleges recruit thousands of elite athletes every year. In fact, many junior colleges are considered “feeder” schools for Division I universities. DI college coaches will turn to trusted junior colleges each year to fill roster spots. For many athletes, junior college or “JUCO” is a great way to knock out some core classes while honing athletic skills before moving on to a four-year university. However, a lot of student-athletes and their families don’t recognize the opportunities a junior college can provide. Here are a few common misconceptions to be aware of when considering junior colleges.

JUNIOR COLLEGES AREN’T THAT COMPETITIVE

JUCO sports are no joke. Take the Hutchinson Community College football program in Kansas, for example. Coach Rian Rhodes has sent three players to the NFL. In one year alone, 14 players left to play at NCAA Division I schools, including Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Missouri and Kansas State. Another 12 signed with FCS, Division II or NAIA programs.

YOU WON’T GET RECRUITED TO PLAY AT A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE

For many college coaches, being a junior college athlete is a huge plus. JUCO transfers give depth to a recruiting class by breaking up the ages of incoming athletes. Because junior college athletes have two more years of experience than freshmen, coaches can upgrade positions immediately. Junior college athletes are often considered a safer option for college coaches.

JUNIOR COLLEGES DON’T GIVE ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS

Depending on sport and school, athletes can earn up to a full-ride scholarship at junior colleges. Students can also receive a partial athletic scholarship in addition to other financial aid options. An added bonus: Junior colleges are generally much less expensive than four-year universities, so the overall price starts lower. 

ALL YOUR CREDITS WON’T TRANSFER

Students who are prepared and start planning early won’t lose their junior college credit hours. When enrolling in a junior college, athletes can let their academic adviser know their plans to transfer to a four-year school. This will play a huge role in the classes that the student will take. When looking at four year-universities, students can also keep an eye out for schools that have articulation agreements, which provide specific policies that make it easier to transfer from one school to another.

IT’S BETTER TO TAKE A YEAR OFF THAN PLAY AT A JUNIOR COLLEGE

Playing at a junior college is a much better choice than taking a year off. It is extremely difficult to get recruited to play at a four-year university after taking even one year off from competing. Junior college allows athletes to continue playing their sport, which looks much better to a college coach. It also shows coaches that students are dedicated to developing their skills and playing at a higher level.

With all the benefits a junior college has to offer, many student-athletes should seriously consider pursuing this opportunity.

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