Putting together your college applications is never fun. It's even more nerve-wracking when you're hoping to make it to the top. Division I colleges provide students with a great education but also with great opportunities for athletic competition. Being a student-athlete at a Division I school means that you work hard and study hard. There are also tough requirements you must fulfill to increase your likelihood of acceptance, and these include a respectable GPA.
The Bare Numbers
To participate in Division I sports, the NCAA mandates that a student must have a certain grade point average, balanced on a sliding scale with a student's ACT or SAT score (math and verbal only). The better the ACT or SAT score, the lower a student's GPA can be. For example, if the math and verbal SAT scores add up to 700, then the recruit needs a 2.8 GPA to be eligible. With an ACT score of 57, the student needs a 2.8 GPA.
Which Classes Count?
The NCAA requires a student to have taken at least 16 core classes that are weighed to decide the student's GPA. These core classes are selected in such a manner that ensures the student had a well-rounded high school education. Among these classes: four years of English, three years of math (algebra I or higher), two years of natural or physical science and two years of social science.
Who Makes the Requirements?
The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is the body that oversees college sports, ensuring that athletes and schools alike operate within the rules and in the best interest of students. Without a minimum GPA requirement for recruits, it would be difficult to ensure new students could handle college classes. A minimum requirement also inspires athletes to try hard in high school, setting them up for success later on.
Division II Comparison
While there is a sliding GPA scale in place for Division I eligibility, Division II is different. To participate in Division II athletics, a student must have a minimum SAT score of 820 or an ACT sum score of 68.
Just as students must have a minimum GPA, colleges are graded on how well their students perform. Schools with an APR (Academic Progress Rate) below 925 face possible punishment until their figures improve.
Ethan Pendleton is a teacher and writer in Columbus, Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Ohio State University at Marion and teaches writing in various capacities in his community.