I continue to see and hear both high school baseball players and their parents have an "I've got to play (NCAA) Division I baseball" mentality. At the same time I see these players end up extremely unhappy because Division I baseball, was not right for them.
When Junior College (JUCO) might be the better choice for you:
1. You are not a great student in high school. Many 2.5-3.0 GPA high school students find the transition to a junior college is much easier.
2. You are a drafted player who was not drafted high enough to sign, but would like to play professional baseball (possibly a draft-and-follow). The junior college route allows the added flexibility of either signing or being re-drafted after both the freshman and sophomore seasons.
3. You are a potential draft pick, not drafted out of high school who wants the additional two years of draft eligibility. This can allow you to continue to work certain aspects of your game that may need improvement.
4. You have a dream of playing at a Texas, a Clemson or an Arizona State, but your only offers are from lesser Division I schools. By going to a junior college and providing yourself you may get the opportunity at the college or university you really wanted to play at.
The one thing that both the player and the parent needs to understand is that after two years playing baseball at a junior college when you transfer to a Division I baseball college the final degree you receive says "Texas", "Clemson" or "Arizona State ", and says nothing about the junior college.
Another issue when considering where to play your college baseball may be dollars. Most Division I baseball schools (who have 11.7 scholarships for baseball) are forced to split the money between 30-35 players, leaving the player a large portion of them that are owed to pay. With lower tuition costs and more scholarships (24) many times a junior college baseball program can offer two years free.
Two years free and then two years at 50% at a Division I baseball school is the equivalent of four years at 75%. That 25% per year can easily save you $ 20,000 or more during your baseball playing career.
Another reason to choose a JUCO is the potential for additional playing opportunity. As a Freshman you will also be competitive against players more your own age.
While Junior College is a good option for many players it is not right for everyone. The 3.5 – 4.0 student who is able to attend a Duke or Notre Dame would be foolish to consider a junior college, as these top academic schools usually do not have many junior college baseball transfers on their rosters.
Whatever your choice the one thing you need to remember is that you need to make the right choice for you.