How Important are Grades in the College Athletic Recruiting Process?

College athletic recruiting can be difficult to navigate. In this post, we’ll discuss how grades impact the process and how to boost your chances.

When you’re trying to get recruited for a college sports team, there is a lot to think about. As it turns out, though, academics may be one of the most important elements to consider. 

While college coaches are looking for recruits who are athletic, coachable, and good at what they do, they’re also looking for athletes who will commit themselves to their studies, and deliver a stellar academic performance. 

Because of this, bad grades are one of the quickest ways to jeopardize a scholarship or recruitment offer.

Here’s what you need to know about how grades impact the recruitment process, and what you can do to make yourself stand out. 

The Importance of Grades to College Recruiting

College coaches are experienced leaders, and they can help college athletes learn the skills needed to reach their full athletic potential if need be. The one thing coaches can’t look past, however, is bad grades. 

Here’s why: in the world of college athletic recruiting, an athlete’s grades determine whether or not a coach targets a potential recruit. If the student’s grades are low, it’s a non-qualifier for coaches. Most teams just won’t take that risk. 

Additionally, most schools have academic requirements student-athletes are required to follow. This means that, when it comes to sizing up recruits, grades are just as important as athletic ability. In short: students who demonstrate both academic and athletic potential are more likely to receive athletic scholarships from their top-choice schools.

The Role of Academic Scholarships

The college athletic recruiting process is basically a tiny door with lots of people trying to fit through all at once. While there are plenty of skilled, talented student-athletes out there, coaches have a limited number of scholarships to offer. This is actually good news for athletes with good grades, though.

Here’s why:

When a coach identifies a student-athlete he or she wants to recruit, the first step is to work with the athlete to determine whether or not they’re eligible for financial aid. If so, the amount of the scholarship might decrease, so there’s more scholarship money left over for other students.

If the student is eligible for an academic scholarship, though, everything changes. Students who are eligible for academic scholarships don’t need athletic scholarships. This makes the student more attractive to athletic departments and means the coach has more money left in their budget to recruit other students. This benefit is only available to students with good grades, though.

While each university differs, a student usually has to meet the following requirements to receive an academic scholarship:


  •  3.5 GPA or higher
  • 25 ACT score or higher
  • 1200 SAT score or higher
  • Academic rank within the top 10 percent of their class

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What to do if Your Grades are Lacking

If you’re worried about your grades as you’re seeking college recruitment, there are a few steps you can take. Here’s what we recommend:

1. Speak to an academic counselor

The first step is to talk to an academic counselor at your school. They’ll be able to look at your grade reports with you and help you understand your options. They may be able to connect you with a tutor or other resources that can help you improve your grades before recruitment begins.

2. Understand the academic requirements of your target school

Most colleges have academic requirements. If you know which university you want to get into, it’s easy to find out what their academic requirements are. Once you have these numbers in mind, you’ll know what you’re shooting for in terms of GPA. 

3. Start early

improving your grades takes time. The earlier you start working to improve your GPA, the better. Give yourself plenty of time so you’re not facing a last-minute crunch. 

We can help you get Noticed

When you’re ready to showcase your academic and athletic achievement, Level Up Sports is here for you. Offering an industry-leading college athletic recruiting app, we help you increase your exposure, connect with coaches and other recruits, and land that dream spot at your university of choice. 

Contact us today to learn more. 

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