College life can be complicated for student-athletes, who often have concerns other students won't. With this article, you can kick-start your college athlete life and stay on top your school work.
There are many aspects of college life to consider when choosing a school; as a student-athlete, you’ll probably have additional concerns that other prospective students won’t. For each college, you may want to consider the quality of the athletic programs and how participating in athletics will affect your college experience.
College information: Athletic programs
If you want to play sports in college, the quality of the athletic programs and the opportunities they provide will likely be of some importance to you. Here are some things you might want to consider when looking into college information:
- The amount of playing time you’ll receive
- The opportunity to play your first year
- The commitment to your health and safety (quality of training and conditioning programs, medical insurance policies)
- How well your style fits with the team’s style
- How well you get along with the coaches and other players
- The stability of the coaching staff
- How many other students are being recruited for your position
- The flexibility of transfer options
- The opportunity to play at levels other than varsity (club, intramural)
- The availability of athletic scholarships (sports scholarships)
Perhaps some of these factors won’t be important to you, but others will. The main question you may want to consider is what you want to get out of your collegiate athletic experience. Once you have an idea about what you want, you’ll be able to find a college that best fits with your vision.
College information: Academics
Many students play sports in college, but the percentage that goes on to compete professionally is very small. So, it’s important that your collegiate athletic experience doesn’t hinder your academic opportunities. Here are some things you might want to consider:
- The school’s commitment to supporting student-athletes academically
- Your ability to maintain athletic commitments and complete your degree on time
- Your ability to balance competing academic and athletic obligations
- The flexibility of class schedules
- The opportunity to catch up on classes outside of typical fall/spring semesters (summer or winter terms)
- The academic admission requirements for student-athletes
- Your ability to afford your education (athletic scholarships would probably help greatly)
College information: Social life
College gives you the opportunity to explore many different activities and interests. It’s important to understand the impact your athletic pursuits will have on your overall college experience. Here are some things you might want to consider:
- The amount of time you can expect to spend on athletics (practice, games, events, travel)
- The housing options for student-athletes
- Your ability to take part in other extracurricular activities or special programs
- Your ability to maintain a part-time job (on-campus or off-campus)
Keep it in perspective
Remember that athletics will only be one part of your college experience. It’s important to choose a school that provides a great overall fit and that will allow you to balance your athletic pursuits, academic requirements, and social interests.