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Do you need good grades to get an athletic scholarship?

October 27, 2020, 8:56 am

Trying to juggle academic studies and sports in high school can be challenging. Spending all day in class and all night on the track can be exhausting. Plus, when are you supposed to do your homework? Excelling academically while becoming a better athlete is hard to balance, but if you want an athletics scholarship, then you’re going to have to find a way.

So, how do grades play a role in getting one of the available athletic scholarships, and do you need them? Athletes, regardless of the sport, generally need at least a 2.0 GPA to be considered for a scholarship. The requirements vary by division, so here are the specific requirements for each one.

Division 1

For consideration of Division 1 college, they use two marks to determine eligibility. Firstly, your GPA must be at least 2.0/4.0. They will also look at your scores on either your ACT or SAT. Depending on your GPA, the ACT/SAT score you require will be different. The higher your GPA is, the lower you can score on the test and still be eligible for a scholarship.

For example, if your GPA is exactly 2.0/4.0, you need to score a total of at least 1020 on the SAT’s math and reading portions. You’ll also need 86 points in the science, math, reading, and English parts of the ACT. If your GPA 3.5/4.0, you’ll only need to score a 420 on your SAT and 39 on the ACT.

Division 2

The requirements for Division 2 are the same as for Division 1. If you play in Division 1, you can play in Division 2, provided you keep your GPA up. That said, you are not allowed to play for either division if your GPA falls below a 2.3. You can still get a scholarship and practice with the team, but you won’t be allowed to compete.

It’s also important to note that the GPA you require to compete in your freshman year will depend on your SAT score. So, if you only score a 620 on your SAT, you’ll need a minimum of a 3.0 GPA for a scholarship and a 3.45 GPA to compete. See the full sliding scale chart here.

Division 3

Schools that have Division 3 teams are solely in charge of determining their eligibility requirements. Each school will have completely different academic requirements to be able to get a scholarship. Division 3 schools don’t offer any athletics scholarships. Their scholarships are entirely academic. That means that if you want to get into a Division 3 school, you need to keep your grades up. Only those with a high GPA and high test scores will stand a chance of getting a scholarship with a Division 3 school.


So, the answer is yes. You do need to have good grades to get an athletics scholarship. You can be fantastic on the track, but if you don’t have the GPA or SAT scores to back it up, then you won’t get consideration for a scholarship.

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