imagesPlaying a sport in college is no small accomplishment.

Statistically speaking, it is a very difficult thing to do, and further, in an increasingly competitive space, it is only getting more challenging in the near term.

Let’s look at some numbers from the NCAA, and then identify five ways in which a student-athlete can take charge of their process and put themselves in the best position possible to success.

Here are some numbers, all courtesy of the NCAA:

Number of High School Student Athletes (All Sports): 7,400,000

NCAA Student Athletes (All Sports): 460,000

Percentage Moving from High School to the NCAA: 6

Said another way, roughly 94% of high school student-athletes will not be playing their sport in college at the NCAA level.

While these numbers are not meant to frighten or deter, they do bring up the importance of taking charge of your own process.

Here are five ways in which you can be as proactive to jump-start your process:

1. Engage in a meaningful college search process (you are going to have to anyway, so start early!), and identify 20-25 schools from a mix of things like size, region and academic selectivity.

2. Ensure you are targeting the right schools by seeking guidance from club coaches, high school coaches and other trusted voices.

3. Make a point to get video of you playing, and use this footage to create a highlight reel you can send to college coaches.

4. Make sure you have a distribution plan to send college coaches video before an event, not waiting for an event and hoping to be discovered.

5. Focus on your own process, and don’t make it reactive by trying to win an invisible race with your peers. College is a lifetime decision, so make sure you are making the correct one for you and you alone.

While doing these things will not automatically spell success, you will be putting yourself in a position where you will not feel as reactive while increasing the likelihood of ending up in the right school for you.