Whether you were a tennis all-star or first string quarterback, continuing your sport in college is a dream of many high school students. But is balancing academics and athletics in college easier said than done?

From 9th to 12th grade, your courses were evenly mapped out during the day with practices after school (or before). Although you may have had longer days than some of your peers, travel was never too far and aside from a tournament here and there – you were usually home for dinner.

Gone are the days of 'after school' practices.

In addition to academics, collegiate sports take things up a notch – or ten – depending on the sport, the division, and the location of the school. Gone are the days of “after school” practices and depending on your conference, the closest competition may be several hours away.

On top of the intense practice schedules, students need to maintain academic eligibility according to the NCAA policy manual in addition to any additional school requirements.

Despite the challenges, more and more students are participating in athletics. In fact, participation numbers have risen in eight of the last ten years - an increase of almost 9,000 student-athlete participants at National Collegiate Athletic Association sport-sponsored institutions.

More and more students are participating in athletics. 

How do student athletes balance academics, internships, athletics, and sometimes part-time jobs? Luckily, they’ve got help. Academic advisors provide support that goes beyond ensuring their courses will work around a practice and game schedule. Students and advisors alike can become familiar with the NCAA policy manual-- which explains the academic eligibility requires among other practices and procedures for athletes.

Here are 6 things for student athletes can do to help keep the right focus:

1) Use All Academic Resources

Be sure to take advantage of all of the academic resources on campus. Do not rely solely on your coaches and teammates for academic support. There’s tutoring, study groups, faculty office hours, and advising out there to help you!

2) Talk To Your Academic Advisor

Speak with your advisor about NCAA regulations and know the essential rules and academic requirements to remain eligible for play. Your advisor can make sure you know everything you need.

3) Schedule Early

Speak to your coaches and professors about your scheduling demands early in the semester/season so you can plan accordingly.

4) Tell Your Advisor Everything

Make sure your advisor knows the details of your day from conditioning to practices to meetings.

5) Don’t Forget Your Academic Goals

Identify your goals and remain focused on academic success. Be sure to think beyond athletics.

6) Keep the Balance

Learn techniques for balance classes and sports. Keep impressing your professors, and talk to upperclassmen and coaches about time management, communication, and study skills.

What are your best tips to being an all-star on and off the field? Let us know in the comments below!

Authored by Elizabeth Coccia

Elizabeth earned her Masters in Higher Education to help student achieve their own dreams. She writes about what students need to do to be successful once they arrive at college.