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What is the process of becoming an athelete in college?
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Hi I would like to know how to be an athlete in college.

The college I am applying to is in division 1. I heard some things about coach recruiting and stuff but to be honest I don't understand it and what should I do. So what should I do while I am still in high school?

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So first... do you currently play the sport for your high school that you want to play in college? It seems like an obvious point but I can't tell from your question whether or not you do. If not—start playing that sport at your school if they offer it; if not, find a local org like a YMCA that offers it.

But assuming you *do* currently play the sport you want to play in college, you should basically just try to become as good an athlete as you can with the resources your high school offers. Recruiting happens when college coaches scout different high schools for strong athletes, and you can initiate recruiting by getting in touch with the coach at the school you're applying to. Division 1 recruiting is extremely competitive, and you'll typically need to be a very, very good athlete in the sport that you're aiming for to get recruiting attention (e.g., multiple years on varsity, team captainships if possible, significant regional or even state-level recognition or victories). If you do, then the coach can make a recommendation to the admissions office that can make it a bit easier to get in than it normally might (though this depends HEAVILY on the school—e.g., if you're applying to an Ivy league school, you would still need to have extremely high academic marks and scores to get in). After that, once you got there, you'd be set with a spot on the team.

If you're not recruited, typically most college sports will have open tryout periods for students to come and show their potential and academic prowess for that team's coaches. Those will usually happen at the start of whichever season that sport happens in—fall, winter, or spring. So the timing varies, but the process is the same. If you have a really good tryout, you could then get a spot on the team, and then (just as if you were recruited) you're officially a student athlete.

I don't play it in high school and haven't joined a club yet. I used to play volleyball in another country but when I came here I found out that men's volleyball is not popular, especially in Northern Virginia. So I am considering the only college that offers men's volleyball here, George Mason University, and I don't think it will be competitive like other sports. For the last paragraph, should I already be an admitted student to go for the tryouts?
I am considering it as a safety school does that boost my chances for a big scholarship?
Yes you need to be admitted and attending school there to go to tryouts. And the competitiveness will depend on the level you try out for—many colleges will have non-competitive club teams, but more competitive varsity teams that actually compete with other schools. If you're trying out for the varsity team, it will likely be pretty competitive, even for a sport that's less popular overall.
If you're asking about general scholarships yes as a safety school (especially an in-state safety school) your chances for a scholarship are better. Still, public schools will not typically have as much money to give in merit aid. If you're asking about athletic scholarships however, the only sports in which athletes typically receive significant athletic scholarships are basketball and football. All other sports will have extremely limited athletic scholarships, if any at all.
Since public schools will not typically have much money to give in merit aid, are they generous in giving need-based aid?
No, they typically have less money for all types of aid. However, their tuition costs will typically be very low for in-state students, which usually still makes them cheaper than most private universities (even those that give a lot of aid). E.g., George Mason's tuition is ~12k/yr for Virginia students, whereas a private school like the University of Richmond is over four times that amount.
The point being that you should expect a school like George Mason to cost its sticker price, but its sticker price will be relatively low if you're a Virginia resident.