Do Colleges Look at JV Sports?

My son plays on his high school football team, and we’re looking at using that to help him gain admission into college. The problem is, we don’t know if colleges look at JV sports. It’s good to have a kid that is doing well in their school’s sports team. Being an athlete from high school can boost a child’s chance of actualizing their potential. Some kids have gained admission into college through their JV sports team. Other kids have also tried to use their performance in JV sports as a one-way ticket into college and failed. Let’s know Do Colleges Look at JV Sports?

Do Colleges Look at JV Sports?

You must be wondering why the seemingly double standard. Is it now a game of luck? Is there merit in this pursuit for college admission through performance in JV sports? Before you go on jabbing blame at the system, you need to understand the system. Admission laws are not different for specific students – the same law applies across boards.

Let’s help you clarify the situation with JV sports and college admission for your kids.

Does Sports Affect College Admission?

The first thing to know is that high school sports are part of a child’s learning experience. It does not give the child special consideration. The child must merit the admission, and the college admission board has to approve the child’s admission. Exceptional cases do abound. 

Colleges look at JV sports when the athlete is a recruit. JV sports players usually get special consideration when the college team recruits them. Here, the child has successfully secured one of the few opportunities available to high school students to gain admission into college. Outstanding JV athletes usually get recruited into the college team and that puts them in a fair position with college admission.  

Most public colleges do not look at JV sports when considering a candidate’s application. Only about 3% of undergraduates in public colleges play intercollegiate sports. JV sports would be a long shot with those colleges. You stand a better chance of gaining admission into MIT and Bowen with JV sports than with public colleges.

Does the type of Athlete Matter?

Remember your talent on the field as a JV athlete can get you admission into college. However, playing a particular role in a game can push you one step up the rung of that ladder. What do I mean? A JV captain is one role that demands extra work. You are in a leadership position as captain of your JV softball team. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? 

As your team’s captain, it shows you have desirable leadership qualities. Every school wants to have students with exceptional leadership skills. A talented JV team captain gets a better chance than their teammates with similar athletic skills.  

An MVP awardee in inter-scholastic competition also stands a better chance of college admission. An MVP with good academic performances shows that they are exceptional on and off-field. College Admission boards also consider other qualities of a student. They don’t rely a hundred percent on academic performance. Are you a team player on and off-field? The average athlete should have team spirit and embrace sportsmanship. Admission boards also want to see how these qualities reflect on your performances in other areas of your life. 

Do I need to play a Specific Type of Sport to be considered for College Admission?

Let’s face it. Some sports have more value than others. The college you applying to may not have a team for the sports you play?  Colleges in the NESCAC Athletic League will always consider JV sports players for admission. These colleges have at least 40% of their students playing intercollegiate sports. You need to play the kind of sports these schools have for you to stand a chance with them.

Football, basketball, women’s volleyball, and sometimes women’s tennis and gymnastics are the most desired sports. Being talented in these sports and balancing your talent with good academic performance is a significant boost. You need to understand that the sport you play must be important in the college. If a school doesn’t rate your type of sports so well, they won’t consider using your JV sports record.  

School Work Vs Workout

Every state has its rules that govern admitting students into college. You can’t try to trick the system. Your school work is the first thing the admission board will look at. Trying to use JV sports as a ticket into college is like trying to trick the system. Being a talented JV athlete does not equate to good grades. If your grades are poor and below the college’s cutoff marks, your athletic skills won’t cover it. 

The ideal candidate must have balanced academic work and on-field work. It means JV sports is not a substitute for poor academic performance. Are you going into college for sports or your academics? Using JV sports to get into college shows a lack of commitment to the sports. Decide whether or not you’re forging a career in sports. Imagine putting in all those extra hours and hard work in JV sports only to dump them once you’re in college. That’s a significant sacrifice to make for a short time.  

So, there you have it. 


You stand a better chance in college if your reports show that you are a team player on and off-field and a talented player with good academic performance. Elite private colleges believe in the philosophy of building the body and the mind together. JV sports often get a nod from such schools. However, you have to be exceptionally talented in the sport and academically good to get a chance. JV sports are not a one-way ticket into college. It can boost your chances of admission, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it. Colleges have different standards, and their admission boards have the final say. 

Always try to strike a balance between your sport and academics. Don’t sacrifice your academics for sports because you want to use it to continue your academics. JV sports might have worked for some students, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you.