What Is A Junior College? And Why Some Great Athletes Go

ByAndrew Pistone

3 min read

What Is A Junior College? And Why Some Great Athletes Go

The great American poet Robert Frost could have been talking about a number of pro athletes when he penned, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Aaron Rodgers, Alvin Kamara, Bryce Harper, Albert Pujols, Jimmy Butler and Shawn Marion, among others, took an unconventional path to becoming stars in their respective professional sports.

They all attended junior college.

Most fans, families and prospects are familiar with the more famous four year college and university system, and watch the athletic programs for these institutions each week on major television networks. Many people, however, are not as in tune with the junior college scene, both from an academic and an athletic standpoint.

A junior college is an institution that can provide student-athletes a place to continue their education, while participating competitively in a sport that they may want to pursue at a four year university in the future. Junior colleges provide a two year stepping stone for a student or athlete to prepare themselves academically and physically for a more conventional university experience. In certain instances, they may also offer certain standalone vocational degrees should students want to pursue a trade after their certification and training has been completed.

There are a number of reasons why an athlete and their families might need the buffer between high school and a four year university.

Academic Reasons To Attend Junior College

Academically speaking, it’s possible for an elite athlete not to qualify for an NCAA university or four-year college due to high school transcripts that are not up to their standards.

During 2020, as remote learning has become the new normal in many states throughout the country, students may have more difficulty in the “classroom” than before since they aren’t surrounded by peers. Also, not having the option of meeting with their teachers face to face if they are having trouble with course material makes it a difficult time to catch up if grades have fallen.

An otherwise competent student could be negatively affected by these factors, In that case, a junior college offers an inexpensive way to get back on the right track academically and continue competing at a high level in sports.


Athletic Reasons To Attend Junior College

From that athletic point of view, there are also strategic rationales for why a prospect might go the junior college route. Some players, like Aaron Rodgers (if you can believe that), did not have many scholarship offers coming out of high school, and used his time at Butte Community College to put together more impressive tape that would attract big time Division 1 college football programs.

Additionally, athletes who are plucked from junior colleges by four year universities often have a leg up than the true freshman players in the program, since they are two years older, and have had a chance to mature both emotionally and physically. This can give them an immediate edge when it comes to playing time.


Financial Reasons To Attend Junior College

There’s also a financial aspect to address when reviewing the benefits of a junior college. Great athletes come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, so if a college offer isn't arriving in high school, some student-athletes start to believe they don't have another option. A family may just not have the luxury of paying their child’s way through college at this point and time and a part-time job is near impossible with a college athlete's schedule.

Junior college, according to a CNBC article published in 2019, can cost an average of $3,660 per year, which is significantly lower than the $25,362 annual average cost of four year schools. That cost/savings benefit analysis will be even more closely examined by athletes and parents this year if breadwinners have lost their jobs in 2020.


Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong path to academic enrichment and athletic success. If the road to a four year university is there for a young prospect, and checks off the scholastic, financial, and sports development boxes, there’s no good reason to pass that up.

But if a young athlete finds themselves needing a little extra time to mature emotionally, sure up their finances, or re-dedicate themselves in the classroom, there is no shame in attending a junior college for two years to get things in order.

Are you an Athlete?

Create a free profile to access the largest network specifically designed to connect athletes to opportunities. Get started.

RELATED ARTICLES
The Recruiting Process Simplified: Tips for Athletes

The Recruiting Process Simplified: Tips for Athletes

Growing up, many athletes dream of hitting the game-winning shot. A stadium roaring with fans,...

ByTiffany Allen | Tue Jan 02 2024
GMTM Launches New Recruiting Education Course

GMTM Launches New Recruiting Education Course

“How do I get recruited?" This is a question we hear from athletes all the time at GMTM. We know...

ByTiffany Allen | Tue Dec 12 2023
Athlete Scholarships: Your Pathway to Success

Athlete Scholarships: Your Pathway to Success

Are you an athlete looking to unlock the path to your dreams with a college scholarship? Beyond...

ByTiffany Allen | Thu Dec 07 2023
Beyond NCSA Athletic Recruiting: Get Ahead in Your Journey

Beyond NCSA Athletic Recruiting: Get Ahead in Your Journey

Navigating the recruiting landscape in sports can be difficult and complex. If you're an athlete,...

ByTiffany Allen | Thu Nov 30 2023
What Do Coaches Want? Unlocking the Secrets of Athletic Recruitment for New Talent

What Do Coaches Want? Unlocking the Secrets of Athletic Recruitment for New Talent

Picture this: You're out on the field, giving your all, with the wind in your hair and the crowd's...

ByTiffany Allen | Mon Nov 20 2023
Recruiting in Sports: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

Recruiting in Sports: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

Are you an athlete looking to uncover the keys to success in sports recruiting? Unlock your...

ByTiffany Allen | Mon Nov 13 2023
How to Train for Football Combines & Camps

How to Train for Football Combines & Camps

The NFL combine is the ultimate opportunity for athletes to showcase themselves in front of NFL...

ByMathias Torp | Wed Nov 08 2023
5 Stages of College Recruiting Process

5 Stages of College Recruiting Process

The recruiting process can be compared to a funnel containing five specific stages. College coaches...

ByMathias Torp | Fri Nov 03 2023
Flag Football: Unlocking Your Path to Pro Sports

Flag Football: Unlocking Your Path to Pro Sports

Are you passionate about sports and dreaming of excelling in a new sport? Look no further than flag...

ByTiffany Allen | Fri Oct 13 2023
Recruiting for Football: The Ultimate Guide

Recruiting for Football: The Ultimate Guide

Are you a football coach or recruiter looking to build a winning team? Crucial for success on the...

ByTiffany Allen | Mon Sep 11 2023
AFFL Opens Talent ID Event For Upcoming Pro Tryouts In Dallas & Three Other Cities

AFFL Opens Talent ID Event For Upcoming Pro Tryouts In Dallas & Three Other Cities

The American Flag Football League is hosting an in-person tryout for male athletes interested in...

ByTiffany Allen | Thu Jun 29 2023
Sports Career Success: Tips for College and Pro Athletes

Sports Career Success: Tips for College and Pro Athletes

Sports come with a unique set of challenges and opportunities. As an athlete, pursuing a career in...

ByTiffany Allen | Wed Jun 21 2023
Volleyball Recruits: 10 Tips For Acing The College Recruiting Process

Volleyball Recruits: 10 Tips For Acing The College Recruiting Process

The college volleyball recruiting process can be intimidating for high school athletes, but with...

ByOVA Team Ontario | Fri Jun 02 2023
Learn How USA Football Selects The Flag Football National Team

Learn How USA Football Selects The Flag Football National Team

The sport of Flag Football has continued to grow in popularity in recent years. The introduction to...

ByTiffany Allen | Thu Jun 01 2023
How Many Scholarships Does Each Collegiate Sport Offer?

How Many Scholarships Does Each Collegiate Sport Offer?

It's time to start applying for schools and begin your recruiting process. You have been working...

ByJohnathan Wright | Tue Feb 21 2023
Sports Injuries and Insurance: Four Facts Parents & Recruits Should Know

Sports Injuries and Insurance: Four Facts Parents & Recruits Should Know

Injuries are a major part of athletics, and a high percentage of student-athletes competing in NCAA...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Feb 07 2023
Recruiting Rankings: Should I Be Worried If I’m Not A Ranked Basketball Player?

Recruiting Rankings: Should I Be Worried If I’m Not A Ranked Basketball Player?

Getting ranked - it’s the ultimate goal and source of motivation for many basketball players across...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sun Dec 04 2022
"What Is A 5-Star Recruit?": Explaining how high school basketball prospect rankings work

"What Is A 5-Star Recruit?": Explaining how high school basketball prospect rankings work

High School basketball players like Bronny James are all over TV and social media nowadays, with...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Dec 01 2022
College Soccer: What is the difference between NCAA Division-I & NAIA?

College Soccer: What is the difference between NCAA Division-I & NAIA?

Many soccer athletes across the United States aspire to play their sport at the college level, and...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sat Nov 26 2022
College Volleyball: What Is The Timeline For A High School Recruit

College Volleyball: What Is The Timeline For A High School Recruit

Playing volleyball at the collegiate level is almost every single player's dream as a young...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Nov 24 2022
Baseball Recruiting: Tips For How To Find A Showcase Team

Baseball Recruiting: Tips For How To Find A Showcase Team

It isn’t always easy to find a team that’s the right fit for you. It wasn’t easy for me. Some guys...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Nov 23 2022
How To Improve Your Golf Game With A New Workout Routine

How To Improve Your Golf Game With A New Workout Routine

The potency of preparedness in winning all battles, from the most ferocious to the most trivial of...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Nov 22 2022
Five Ways To Boost Your Basketball Recruiting with Social Media

Five Ways To Boost Your Basketball Recruiting with Social Media

Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, GMTM, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook... Social media is a...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Sat Nov 19 2022
Which High Schools In America Produce The Most Female College Athletes?

Which High Schools In America Produce The Most Female College Athletes?

It may come as no surprise to hear parents want what is best for their children. If parents have...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Nov 15 2022
How To Play Division-I College Football: Four Requirements For Every Athlete

How To Play Division-I College Football: Four Requirements For Every Athlete

It is no secret that it is often a young football athlete's dream to play their favorite sport at...

ByScotty Jenkins | Mon Nov 14 2022
Is playing Division-II college sports worth it?

Is playing Division-II college sports worth it?

Being a Division II collegiate athlete was one of the best experiences of my entire life. Having...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Nov 08 2022
Five major benefits of playing at a large high school for hopeful recruits

Five major benefits of playing at a large high school for hopeful recruits

Quality of Competition Large high schools tend to have bigger athletic departments and budgets....

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Nov 02 2022
Eight Football Athletes Using GMTM To Find Opportunities To Play

Eight Football Athletes Using GMTM To Find Opportunities To Play

There doesn't seem to be a clear start and finish to the football season anymore. In today’s day...

ByScotty Jenkins | Fri Oct 28 2022
College Volleyball Recruiting: How Athletes Can Get Ahead Before High School

College Volleyball Recruiting: How Athletes Can Get Ahead Before High School

The first step in getting recruited by a college volleyball team is to take advantage of the...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sun Oct 23 2022
The Four Best Quarterbacks Turned Wide Receivers in NFL History

The Four Best Quarterbacks Turned Wide Receivers in NFL History

Playing quarterback may be the toughest job in professional sports, with just thirty-two jobs in...

ByBryan Armetta | Sun Oct 16 2022
Three Tell-Tale Signs You Are Ready For College Sports

Three Tell-Tale Signs You Are Ready For College Sports

Plenty of high school athletes think they have what it takes to play sports in college. However,...

ByBryan Armetta | Thu Oct 13 2022
How Athletic Scholarships Work: A Quick Guide To Paying For College

How Athletic Scholarships Work: A Quick Guide To Paying For College

It is no secret that college is expensive, and as time goes on, the price continues to increase....

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Oct 11 2022
Think you can play college football? Here’s what to expect in the recruiting process

Think you can play college football? Here’s what to expect in the recruiting process

Playing college football is a dream for many high schoolers but the recruiting process can be...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Oct 06 2022
Soccer Recruiting: What College Coaches Look For In High School Recruits

Soccer Recruiting: What College Coaches Look For In High School Recruits

Realistically, soccer coaches and managers look out for different things in soccer players during...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Sep 28 2022
Volleyball Recruiting: Nine Questions For Recruits To Ask Volleyball Coaches

Volleyball Recruiting: Nine Questions For Recruits To Ask Volleyball Coaches

Finding a good college, team, coach, and place to spend four years of your life is important and...

ByRebekah Morris | Mon Sep 26 2022
College Football: Five Stars Who Could Have Benefitted Most from NIL Ruling

College Football: Five Stars Who Could Have Benefitted Most from NIL Ruling

The NCAA's Division I Board of Directors announced a new...

ByBryan Armetta | Sat Sep 24 2022
College Sports: How To Pick The Right School To Attend

College Sports: How To Pick The Right School To Attend

Picking the right college can be a tough task for any high school senior, but it can be a unique...

ByAlexis Peltzer-Harding | Fri Sep 23 2022
Where Is The Sport Of Lacrosse Most Popular?

Where Is The Sport Of Lacrosse Most Popular?

Lacrosse has long been known as an east coast sport in the United States, but has seen growth...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Sep 22 2022
How Recruits Can Ask A School For More Athletic Scholarship Money

How Recruits Can Ask A School For More Athletic Scholarship Money

Athletes and parents often ask for college scholarship money during the athletic recruiting...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Sep 21 2022
What Does Redshirt Mean? And The Reasons Why Players Do It?

What Does Redshirt Mean? And The Reasons Why Players Do It?

Any athlete with a love for competition hates sitting on the sideline, but once he or she gets to...

ByCorey Roepken | Mon Sep 19 2022
What Every College Athlete Should Know Before Freshman Year Starts

What Every College Athlete Should Know Before Freshman Year Starts

The shift from high school to college is a big one. Throw playing a collegiate sport in and it can...

ByLily Ford | Sun Sep 18 2022
The Positives of Playing Club Volleyball For College Recruits

The Positives of Playing Club Volleyball For College Recruits

Do you aspire to step into your next level as a collegiate volleyball player? Are you unsure if...

ByGrace White | Thu Sep 08 2022
Top Five Skills Every Defensive Back Prospect Needs to Develop

Top Five Skills Every Defensive Back Prospect Needs to Develop

Quarterbacks and offensive player command a lot of attention on recruiting websites, and rightfully...

ByJordan Rinard | Tue Sep 06 2022
How High School Recruits Can Use Twitter To Engage With College Coaches

How High School Recruits Can Use Twitter To Engage With College Coaches

National Signing Day is right around the corner (February 3, for the uninitiated), and now is good...

ByJordan Rinard | Mon Sep 05 2022
How Parents Can Help You Get Recruited To Play College Football

How Parents Can Help You Get Recruited To Play College Football

While performance and execution are a fundamental necessity for the child when it comes to getting...

ByDJ Cadden | Tue Aug 30 2022
Basketball Recruiting: Four Ways To Improve Your Chances Of Getting A Scholarship

Basketball Recruiting: Four Ways To Improve Your Chances Of Getting A Scholarship

College basketball recruiting is structured in a time-sensitive and fast-paced manner:...

ByScotty Jenkins | Mon Aug 29 2022
5 Tips To Help Get Recruited To Play College Soccer

5 Tips To Help Get Recruited To Play College Soccer

The college soccer recruiting process can be extremely competitive, and unfortunately, it does not...

ByJohnathan Wright | Mon Aug 29 2022
College Football: Three Transfer Portal Players to Watch in 2022

College Football: Three Transfer Portal Players to Watch in 2022

It's not even four years old, but it's hard to even remember what college football was like before...

ByBryan Armetta | Sun Aug 28 2022
Why Top High School Baseball Recruits Choose College Over The Big Leagues

Why Top High School Baseball Recruits Choose College Over The Big Leagues

In terms of popularity, college baseball doesn’t quite make the cut. Stadiums definitely don’t sell...

ByScotty Jenkins | Fri Aug 26 2022
Five Ways To Gain A College Basketball Coach’s Attention in the First Correspondence

Five Ways To Gain A College Basketball Coach’s Attention in the First Correspondence

Whether by writing a letter or sending an e-mail, reaching out to a college basketball coach for...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Thu Aug 25 2022