What is Junior College? Don’t Over Look This Option …

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) is another athletic association like the NCAA & NAIA. The NCJAA is made up of colleges (Junior Colleges) for student-athletes to attend for 2 years. After 2 years, you can then transfer to a 4 year College or University once you complete your 2 years of a degree (called an Associates degree). Schools that only offer their students 2 years of education are referred to as Junior College. Click here to read Top 13 reasons why basketball players go to Junior College first.


What is Junior College?


Junior College is an option for student athletes to continue with their higher education and basketball after graduating from high school. Junior College provides you with academic, vocational and professional education alongside the ability to play college basketball. Attending a Junior College (JUCO) can be a good way for student athletes to ease into the world of higher education. It offers the ability to learn at your own pace and figure things out. Community Colleges are also known for their flexible schedules and their smaller financial risk (a.k.a. lower tuition costs) which can offer young student athletes more freedom to explore what it is you want to do and, allowing for the option to change your mind.

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What is the school work like at Junior College?


The coursework offered at Junior College is the same as any 4 year school. It is a myth that Junior College classes are easier than classes at four-year schools. The difficulty depends on the classes you choose, the professors you have and how much work you are willing to put in! What make the NJCAA desirable for some players is that it offers student athletes (whose academic ability may not be on par with their sports ability), a chance to still play basketball at a high level. Many student athletes transfer after their two years are up, to bigger four year college at the NCAA or NAIA  level with much greater success. This success comes from increasing their basketball skills and abilities during their time at Junior College and increasing their grades and academic achievements.


Who is Junior College a good option for?


As previously mentioned, the choice of attending a junior college is a great option for anyone who wants more time to figure out what they want to do and have the flexibility to it. It is also a very good option for players who want to bring there academic abilities up to match their athletic abilities. It is also a great avenue to go down for players who are not living in the USA. A lot of coaches are more inclined to take a chance on an international player who is playing/was playing at the junior college level.  Also, international basketball players are able to obtain larger scholarships from previously attending a JUCO which is another important reason to highlight and, is why the NJCAA is a great pathway for international players to consider.


What is the basketball level like at Junior College?


The level of play at a Junior College is definitely on par with NCAA D2 and NAIA colleges with some Junior College basketball teams being capable of competing at an even higher level (dare I say D1). Whether you are an American player or an International player, NJCAA is always a good option to consider when your looking to begin your college basketball career.


What is it like playing JUCO basketball?


First of all, you are going to play, period. How else are players going to improve their game and get seen by 4-year college coaches. Student athletes who decide to go the JUCO route are able to transfer to D1 programs after realizing their potential at JUCO by performing on the court, hitting academic targets and keeping grades high, basically doing all the right things for a D1 coach to take notice and make them an offer. Taking your time at junior college seriously, both on the court and in the classroom can lead to you becoming a JUCO transfer success story.


If I play at Junior College will I get seen by College Coaches from the NCAA?


Coaches from the NCAA and the NAIA like to take players who have attend 2 years of junior college because they know (mostly from their own previous experiences) that those players have gained maturity, improved as a player and increased their academics. Student athletes from countries other than the USA should be aware that some schools do just prefer to take American players over international players. The reason for this is because at times, international players come without any prior experience in the American collegiate system. Another reason is that they don’t have a strong enough academic or athletic background and prefer to go with the American player who does. As an international player this is good information to know. If you fall into one of these categories you now know where a potential weakness may lie and, can work on this to develop any areas that need it so that you have a greater chance not to be over-looked and selected instead.

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As a college basketball prospect you need to sit down and look at all options. This includes Junior College. It is good if you can do this both on your own, then with a coach and/or your family to get different viewpoints, opinions and perspectives. Don’t fall into the trap of listening to the stigmas associate with JUCO as they are not true. Many high level players have graduated form Junior College to play NCAA D1, even some NBA players went to Junior College first. You have to assess where you are in your development both athletically and academically and then consider where your at financially. This can be a very good starting point for many young basketball players. Remember, it’s good to have a goal and aim high, but there are many paths to get to where you want to be, so keep an open mind. Everyone’s path is different.

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