8 Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a College as a Student Athlete

Mar 22, 2023

As a student athlete, it is important to make sure you are choosing the right college for your academic and athletic needs. You must take into consideration a variety of factors to ensure the college you select is the best fit for you. In this blog post, we will discuss eight important factors that should be taken into consideration when selecting a college as a student athlete. By considering these, you will be able to make an informed decision about which college is the best option for you.

1. Location

Location is an important factor to consider when choosing the right college as a student athlete. Depending on what sport you play, the climate and geography of the area could be beneficial or detrimental to your performance. For example, warm climates can be ideal for outdoor sports like baseball and tennis, while colder climates can be more suitable for winter sports like hockey and skiing. 

It is also important to consider the travel time to away games and tournaments. Is the college close enough to home that you can make frequent visits, or far enough that you can get away and make new friends? If you’re looking to stay closer to home, make sure you research the schools in your area and their athletics programs.

2. Size

When it comes to choosing the right college as a student athlete, size matters. Bigger schools can provide greater opportunities in terms of athletics and academics, but they also tend to be more competitive and costly. On the other hand, smaller schools offer less competition and may be more affordable, but can also have fewer resources for athletics and academics. It’s important to research each school’s size and offerings and decide which environment would best suit you.

When looking at the size of a school, consider the student body size as well as the size of the athletic program. Schools with large athletic programs will likely have more teams and more funding for their teams, while smaller programs might not be able to provide the same level of resources. Additionally, consider whether you’d prefer a large or small campus experience—larger campuses usually offer more activities and resources than small campuses, but some students may find that smaller campuses provide a closer community atmosphere. 

3. Athletic Program

The athletic program is an important factor when selecting a college as a student athlete. You want to make sure the school offers the sport you play, and that the coaches and program staff are experienced and successful. Look into their record in recent years and read reviews from other athletes who have gone through the program. Ask questions about how long the coaches have been at the school, what types of training they offer, and how they prioritize sportsmanship and team unity. Additionally, consider the program’s facilities and equipment, as well as any awards or accolades it has won in recent years. Knowing that the athletic program is strong can help you feel more comfortable joining the team and make sure you’re getting the most out of your experience as a student athlete.

4. Academic Program

When it comes to selecting the right college as a student athlete, one of the most important factors to consider is the school’s academic program. A great academic program will offer courses that will help you reach your goals and further your education. Make sure to research the college’s curriculum to ensure that it will meet your needs and interests. 

Additionally, take some time to review the faculty at the school. Are there professors who are experts in your chosen field of study? Will you have access to a supportive teaching staff that can guide you on your journey? Ask yourself if the college’s academic offerings will challenge you and help you achieve success both academically and athletically. 

Finally, think about the support services that the college provides. Do they have tutoring centers, writing centers, or other resources available? These resources can be invaluable in helping you make the most of your college experience. Choosing the right college as a student athlete involves considering more than just the athletic program – take the time to evaluate the academic offerings as well!

5. Facilities 

When choosing a college as a student athlete, it’s important to consider the facilities that are available. Ask yourself what type of practice and game fields you’ll have access to. Do they have an indoor or outdoor track? Is there a gym or weight room? Are there training facilities like hydrotherapy pools or steam rooms? You also need to consider any other specialty facilities such as a tennis court, pool, golf course, or equestrian center. Consider the stadium seating and scoreboards too. All these factors can affect your overall college experience as an athlete. Make sure you take the time to research all of the available facilities and see if they meet your needs.

6. Opportunities for Growth 

It is important to consider the opportunities for growth that the school can provide. College athletics offer a unique chance to develop both physical and mental skills, and can help students build confidence, foster teamwork, and learn leadership skills. A good college athletic program should provide the opportunity for athletes to grow and develop their talents while also building connections with teammates, coaches, and mentors. 

At some colleges, athletes may have access to professional sports advisors, who can provide advice on how to maximize potential and reach goals. Additionally, student athletes may have access to specialized academic support such as tutoring or study groups. Many schools also offer internships, volunteer programs, and research projects, which can help athletes develop additional skills outside of the sport they play. All of these opportunities provide a great way for student athletes to gain valuable experience and learn how to best use their talents to succeed. 

Finally, it’s important to look for colleges that offer strong mentorship programs for student athletes, like the one at the University of Missouri. Having someone who is experienced in the sport or academic field can be a great way for athletes to learn more about what it takes to reach success. These mentors can provide guidance and support throughout the college experience and beyond. 

By taking the time to evaluate the opportunities for growth provided by different colleges, student athletes can ensure they make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the right college for them.

7. Financial Aid and Scholarships

For many students, being able to afford college is an important factor when considering where to attend. It is important to research what financial aid and scholarships are available at the school. Many colleges offer athletic scholarships and other financial aid programs that can help make college more affordable for student athletes. Additionally, it is important to look into private scholarships that may be available for students who meet certain criteria. 

Financial aid isn’t limited to scholarships. Student athletes should also look into grants, loans, and work-study programs that may be available. Each school has different programs and policies, so it’s important to research each school thoroughly before making a decision. It’s also a good idea to reach out to the college’s financial aid office for more information about what types of financial aid are available. 

In addition to researching available financial aid, student athletes should also consider their budget carefully when deciding where to attend college. This includes looking into housing costs, transportation costs, meal plans, and other expenses. Having a budget in place can help ensure that college is affordable and that student athletes can focus on their academic and athletic goals.

8. Campus Life

When choosing the right college as a student athlete, it’s important to think about the social aspects of the campus and the surrounding area. Are there clubs and activities that align with your interests? Does the school have strong Greek life? What about recreational activities like hiking, skiing, or sailing? These are all important questions to consider when looking at campus life. 

You should also think about how comfortable you’ll feel living on-campus. What type of dorms and living arrangements does the school offer? Are they safe and secure? Do they provide a range of services like tutoring, mental health counseling, or study sessions? 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t forget to look at reviews from current students. Ask friends or family members who attended the school what their experience was like. This will give you an idea of what it’s really like to live there.

Remember, college is more than just studying and competing athletically. Finding the right balance between academics, athletics, and social life is essential to your overall wellbeing and success. When choosing the right college as a student athlete, take the time to research as much as you can to decide the best fit for you. Let scholarpath.com make it easier for you.