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Academic Requirements

Understanding athletic and academic requirements is the first step to becoming a Student-Athlete. Meeting both academic and athletic requirements is necessary to becoming eligible to play college sports in the US.

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Key Takeaways

  • There are several academic requirements for both Students and Student-Athletes
  • To attend college you need to complete high-school and complete the SAT and ACT.
  • To get a masters degree you need to complete your bachelor and you most likely need to take either the GMAT or the GRE test to get admitted.

Admission Requirements

Every college and university sets its own admission standards to decide who will be admitted to their programs. It is important to always check the specific admission requirements of the program you apply for, as the requirements differ between universities, colleges, and programs.

In general, universities base their admission decisions on a student’s academic record as well as on application test scores like SAT, ACT and TOEFL (for internationals). Below you can find a list of some further general requirements you have to meet, which can differ between undergraduate and graduate programs.

1) Undergraduate (Bachelor)

1.1) Complete Secondary School

Applicants need to prove a successful completion of secondary school (highschool or equivalent). Highschool in the US takes typically 12 years to complete.

You will be required to submit your high school transcript or an equivalent accepted certification. Universities are primarily review your academic record from your last four years of high school. Some universities will also require a letter of recommendation from someone in your high school- this could be a guidance counselor, or teacher.

1.2) Complete SAT & ACT

Most universities require applicants to take a standardized university admission test, usually the SAT or the ACT, testing your English reading and writing, mathematics, data analysis and reasoning skills. Both the SAT and the ACT are accepted by all U.S. colleges. You can take the tests in official test centers all over the world. Both tests are mainly in multiple-choice format.

SAT Scholastic Aptitude Test ACT American College Test SAT Subject Test
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Free prep and practice tests can be found at Khan Academy

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Different fee-based and free options at Union Test Prep

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Colleges requiring or recommending SAT Subject Test


NCAA Update 2023 – Standardized Test Scores: In January 2023, NCAA Divisions I and II adopted legislation to remove standardized test scores from initial-eligibility requirements for all student-athletes who initially enroll full time on or after August 1, 2023. Check with the NCAA school you plan to attend regarding whether standardized test scores are necessary for admission or scholarship requirements. For more information, click here.

1.3) Test Acceptance & Preference

The ACT and SAT are both accepted at all U.S. universities, however there are a few differences between the two tests that may be more preferable for some students. The college board website explains all the differences between the two tests, and the Princeton Review can help you decide which test is right for you.

Some colleges require, recommend, or consider SAT Subject Tests in admission decisions. These tests are offered in a variety of subjects like Literature, US or World History, Mathematics, Physics or foreign languages. These subject tests are generally preferable for students that are particularly knowledgeable in a certain subject field.

1.4) English Proficiency Test

If English is not your native language you’ll likely have to take a language proficiency test.

  • Check the individual admission requirements of the program you’re applying for.
  • Also check which test is accepted and what score you will have to achieve.
  • The requirements differ between universities and programs. The most common tests are:
TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language IELTS – International English Language Testing System Duolingo English Test – English Proficiency Test

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  • Worlds’ most accepted English-language test
  • Find out which institutions accept the TOEFL
  • Results back around 6 days
  • Score is valid for 2 years
  • Fee: $180
  • Test Length: 4 hours

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  • IELTS General Training
  • IELTS Academic; required for higher education
  • Find out which institutions accept the IELTS
  • Find a testing center
  • Results back in 5-7 days
  • Score is valid for 2 years
  • Fee: $215-240
  • Test Length: 2.45 hours

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  • Find out which institutions accept the Duolingo test
  • Take the test online at anytime
  • Score is valid for 2 years
  • Fee: $49
  • Test length: 1 hour




2) Graduate (Master)

2.1) Complete a Bachelor

To apply for a graduate program you must have completed a bachelor’s degree and submit your transcript.

2.2) Graduate Admissions Test

Many graduate programs require a graduate admission test (GRE). Always check the admission requirements of the program you’re applying for to see which test is accepted. The most common tests in the U.S. are the GRE (the Graduate Record Examinations) and the GMAT.

GRE – Graduate Record Examinations GMAT – Graduate Management Admission Test

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  • GRE assesses your skills in quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing
  • Score is valid for 5 years
  • Fee: $205
  • Test length: 3.45 hours

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  • Assesses your skills in quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing
  • Usually required for business and management degree programs
  • Score is valid for 5 years
  • Fee: $275
  • Test Length: 3.5 hours


2.3) English Proficiency Test

If English is not your native language you’ll most likely have to take a language proficiency test. Be sure to check the individual admission requirements of the program you’re applying for to see whether a test is required. The most common tests are the TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test.

2.4) Letters of Recommendation

Masters programs will typically require at least one or two letters of recommendation from professors of your Bachelor’s program.

2.6) Statement of Purpose

In your statement of purpose (SOP) you should outline your motivation, qualification and demonstrate your suitability for the program. Explain why you want to study this specific subject, show your experiences in the field and provide an outlook on what you plan to do upon completion of the degree.

3) Factors in College Admission

> See the most important factors in college admissions

Colleges and universities base their admission decisions on many factors. Due to the NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2018-19, the most important considerations in first-time freshmen college admission decisions are high school grades, strength of curriculum, and admission test scores.

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