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Difference Between Prep School and JUCO: For Athletes

I have been asked so many times by high school parents and students, about playing at the next level. Talented athletes that can play at the college level are either struggling academically or maybe, they just don’t get enough playing time – either way, these athletes may need some help achieving their dreams. So I would love to share a few alternative options. I am going to explain, to the best of my ability, what a post-grad prep school is and what a JUCO is – and the difference between the two.

What is a Post-Grad Prep school?

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A post-graduate year is a transition year and provides students with another year of secondary school before moving on to college. Some students will consider doing an “extra” year of high school in order to better prepare themselves for college in a number of areas. Athletes that decide to go the "Prep" route do not lose their college playing eligibility – and some schools allow their students to graduate in December and declare them eligible for college in January. This makes an athlete more attractive to college coaches and helps him get acclimated to college before fall practice begins.

What is JUCO?

​JUCO is an acronym for JUnior COllege. Junior colleges, are also referred to as community colleges and are two-year institutions where a student-athlete can earn an Associate's Degree before transferring to a four-year university. Most JUCO athletic associations require student-athletes to have a high school diploma or GED before they can participate in sports.

The Major Difference

Even though high school athletes may choose between JUCO and Prep for similar reasons, the two systems have major differences. For example, at a JUCO you are working toward gaining your Associates degree which causes you to lose years of playing eligibility when you transfer to a four year institution. (This website can give you more info on NCAA eligibility rules.. ) At a prep school your continuing to prepare your self for college, after one year, or semester, at a prep school you might have not gained any college credits but you don't lose a year of playing eligibility at the collegient level.

My conclusion

Both schooling systems can be used as a tool for athletes to further their playing experience. Athletes can improve from an academic stand point, mature physically and mentally, and continue to play sports. There are many more differences between Prep School and JUCO but this is a start. Choosing between the two can be hard, so be sure to research eligibility and the NCAA rules as much as you can, talk to your school’s guidance counselor and coaches before making any of these decisions.

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