man in green shirt and black pants playing golf during daytime

Many high schoolers dream of playing sports in college. Others dream of just seeing the court or field. Regardless of what the goal may be, the reality is that far too many kids graduate high school either without opportunities to play in college or were part of a team where they never got to play. 

Much of the reason for these broken dreams is that schools, parents, and coaches have taught kids that the only sports that exist are football, basketball, volleyball, and baseball, along with a few other local sports (lacrosse in the northeast and soccer out west). 

Despite the lack of coverage or attention to other sports, there are dozens of other sports that may have leagues, opportunities, and growth potential, wherever you may live. Some of these sports have relatively easy access to college opportunities, while others provide guaranteed playing time. 


Rowing is one of the best sports to try if you’re hoping for a college scholarship, and if sought after, it is actually one of the sports with the least resistance to making it to the Olympics or competing in international competition. With six events for women and eight for men, rowing is a sport that certainly has no ceiling for those who pursue it. 

Aside from being a growing sport, it’s also great for athletes interested in other sports. The amount of strength, core, and endurance that rowers have can be very helpful in other sports. 

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate frisbee is the perfect combination of many other sports. There are kickoffs similar to football, strategies similar to soccer, the speed of field hockey, and the passing precision of lacrosse or baseball. 

Recently, ultimate frisbee leagues have begun to pop up in school districts around the U.S., and some tournaments can now even be seen on national television stations like ESPNEWS and CBS Sports Network. 

One of the big benefits of ultimate frisbee is that despite the pace and intensity is high, in terms of injuries, it’s pretty low compared to other sports with the same speed.

Track and Field

While the sport of track and field may not be unique or new to many, some of the events certainly are. For high school athletes looking to compete in college, throwing the javelin or hammer are great opportunities because many states do not offer them as options in normal track meets. Other events include the 400 hurdles, the steeplechase, and having the cross country distance to run a 10K on a track. 

Again, most of the events mentioned above are not part of high school meets, but with the right training and a desire to compete, there are meets out there that allow athletes to compete and be looked at by college scouts. 


Swimming is very competitive in some states, such as California, Florida, and Arizona, but in other states, it is far less competitive, which opens up the possibility for success if taken seriously. 

Swimming is similar to rowing or track in that there are many different races and events. While every state is different in what is offered, some of the options include sprints, different stroke swims, diving, and long-distance swimming. 

If looking to compete in college, unlike football or basketball, which have endless resources to recruit, many colleges look local first. 

Cross Country

Many athletes feel that coaches play their favorites. If you’re looking for the ultimate “fair sport,” cross country is the quick and easy answer. Cross country is a sport that plays no favorites, favors no size or skill set, or is influenced by the play of others. Everyone steps up to the same line and finishes at the same place. The time it takes to run is factual, non-negotiable, and fair. 

Perhaps the nicest part of cross country is that everyone participates. Whether the fastest or slowest on a team, everyone gets an equal opportunity to prove themselves. Another nice perk is that colleges will tell runners what time they need to run if they want to run for their school. 

There are dozens of other sports that could be discussed, but the point is well made: there are plenty of sports and opportunities where high schoolers can find success. 

If nothing else, an athlete can be confident in their decision of what to play and have fun doing it.