10 Things I Wish I knew Before Going D-III
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10 Things I Wish I knew Before Going D-III

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10 Things I Wish I knew Before Going D-III

Anyone can tell you the basics between the collegiate athletic divisions. For most, this refers to scholarships and how much colleges and universities are willing to give, making everything but Division I athletics all but undesirable. What most don't know is everything else that goes into choosing which division to compete for and why. Division III is the most underreported and under-appreciated division of the NCAA making it borderline impossible to accurately compare the three divisions. As a proud Division III athlete, this is a list of 10 things I wish I'd known before choosing D-III.

1. It isn't all about the money.

Although every athlete fantasizes of receiving a full ride to their dream college, however, the sad truth is that more than 50 percent of college athletes receive no athletic aid. And although NCAA regulations forbid D-III schools from offering athletic scholarships, more than 75 percent of D-III athletes receive some form of merit, academic, or need-based financial aid, a stark contrast to the 53 percent and 56 percent that D-I and D-II athletes receive, respectively.

2. Not only small private schools compete D-III.

This statement could not be more wrong! Plenty of larger schools compete D-III -- such as NYU, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of Chicago.

3. It's still a huge commitment.

D-III athletics is still a heavy time commitment. Most athletes commit 20 hours per week for mandatory practices, and this doesn't even include the time spent for warm up, rehab, and work many athletes put in on their own time to better themselves.

4. It's still hard.

D-III athletes are still in the weight room almost every day, still cross training, and still working their butts off -- on and off the field. And whether you compete D-I or D-III, at the end of the day the practice is only as hard as you make it. If you don't leave feeling like there's no way that you can make it back for (yet another) double you're not working hard enough.

5. You will be a student-athlete, not an athlete-student.

One of the main selling points of competing D-III is that it allows you to focus on your academics. What they don't tell you, however, is how involved your coaches will be in your academics. D-III coaches receive updates on your grades and how you're doing in class regularly, and if there is something they don't like they will address it with you and your professors to find the best course of action for you personally.

6. D-III is not only for benchwarmers.

Plenty of D-III schools are highly competitive and able to compete against some of the top athletic programs in the country. And many D-I athletes transfer to D-III schools every year for various reasons ranging from D-I made them lose the love of their sport to the realization that they want more of a balance in their academic, athletic, and social lives.

7. D-III athletes take their sports very seriously.

Athletes spend their entire lives training, for one thing, to win. That doesn't magically disappear once he/she commits to a D-III school. Every single athlete carries with them he same dedication and drive that got them to compete at the collegiate level in the first place. Everyone on your team is there because they love their sport not because they are getting paid to do it. This causes an unreal level of camaraderie and dedication to your team and your teammates that are unparalleled in the other divisions.

8. You're friends still won't understand.

Somethings never change. Your NARP (non-athletic regular person) friends will always be asking why you can't skip practice or why going out the night before morning practice is a death wish. They will never stop doing double takes at your four overloaded plates at the dining hall when they only have one. They will never understand the post leg day hobble, or why you need to spend 15+ hours training every week, yes, even in off season. Even in college, they'll never learn nor understand the oddities that entailed in life as a collegiate athlete.

9. You won't travel as much as you think you will.

Who doesn't want to travel the country playing the sport they love? D-I schools compete all over the country, unfortunately, in D-III your travel is fairly restricted to the states around you, and long bus rides. Thankfully, your team will make these worth it with various singalongs, movies, and other bus ride shenanigans.

10. It's the best option if you want to balance your athletic, academic and social lives and, overall, the best college experience imaginable.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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