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Best college hockey programs to become a professional athlete?

I'm a CareerVillage staff member and I'm posting this because we know that many young people are looking for the answer to this question. This is among the most popular questions searched by youth, and we're hoping you will take a moment to share your response to it. Thank you! #college #hockey #athlete #athletics #professional-athlete #sports #pro-sports

Things you can consider for this specific question...

Which colleges have highly ranked hockey programs?
Where have current professional hockey players gone to college for hockey?
If you played hockey in college, where did you attend and what did you think of the program?
What schools offer scholarships for hockey players?


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Ken’s Answer

It really does not matter what college you attend or what program in which you participate. The important thing is for you to strive to excel. As you become more proficient in your sport, you will be found - no matter where you are - at a time when you least expect it to happen. Scouts are everywhere.


The two most important things that you need to consider when thinking about becoming a professional athlete are:


  • Learning about financial planning. Too many athletes acquire vast sums of money, which they are not prepared to manage and end up at the end of their career with nothing.
  • Planning for an alternate career is very important. You need to prepare for an alternate career, as professional sports careers tend to end too often prematurely, and you will need another way to provide income.

The following will address the second issue.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##

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Joey’s Answer

Hi Alexandra,

I think it's more important to find a college that is the right fit for you, as a student and as an athlete. Depending on the level you desire to play, there can be financial implications. For example DIII only offers Financial Aid, whereas DI offers athletic scholarships.
For a student, you want to find the right fit, big State school, smaller private school, programs offered and graduation rate. It's important for student athletes to focus on life after college.
For the athlete side you want to research the program as well. What role do you want to play, will you be an impact player right away, or will you be in and out of the lineup. What conference are they in - how much travel do they do? (this could impact your studies)

Life after 4 years of college hockey is most important, whether that's finding a full time job or finding a pro team to play for.

Good luck!
-Joey

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