The Real Pro's & Con's of Being A D3 Student Athlete
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The Real Pro's & Con's of Being A D3 Student Athlete

It's tough all around, but it really pays off.

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The Real Pro's & Con's of Being A D3 Student Athlete
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1a. There is no priority for classes.

I’m sure you’ve heard that at D1 and D2 schools, athletes get preferential treatment when it comes to picking their schedule. In fact, they will often times get first choice with every last professor, class and time. Well, at the D3 level, that is not the case. Your schedule is based off credits or your ID number and you are mixed in with everyone else typically at the same credit level.

Vs.

1b. Classes are small.

Going to a division 3 school typically means your school has a smaller class of undergrads which also means classes are smaller. My largest intro/lecture class this semester has only around 30 people. The good news about that is often times you can show up to class as a waitlist and have a really good chance at getting in permanently. Plus, there’s the obvious plus side of getting more 1-on-1 attention and getting to know your professors.

2a. Practice every day can cut into study/homework time.

2 hours plus of practice each day and 2 plus games a week can really cut into your time to get classwork done. Especially when you have to consider that each practice or game requires time to show up early for warm-up, pregame talks, getting taped and afterwards requires time to ice, change, shower, etc.

Vs.

2b. Time management.

Being a student athlete prepares you amazingly for the real world. You learn very quickly how to balance your time with everything you have going on. And you are forced to work that much harder to earn the grades you want. On top of that, studies have proven that student-athletes perform statistically better in school.

3a. You’re exhausted.

Nothing makes you yawn like an 8am, after having practice the night before, and knowing you have a game that night. On top of that you’re walking to classes wrapped in ice and your muscles are constantly sore.

Vs.

3b. You’re already up for lifting.

An early class means that if you have an early practice or lifting, then you can go straight from that to class. After all, if you already have to be up, might as well get class done too. Plus, even with the exhaustion setting in, just think- you probably won’t gain the freshmen 15 and if you do, it’ll be muscle weight!

4a. You might miss classes for games.

At some point you will have to travel for a tournament or game that will keep you from going to class. That could be quite a disadvantage considering D3 teachers are often times much stricter when it comes to attendance.

Vs.

4b. Teachers actually care about you missing and it doesn’t happen that often.

Because of athletics, I chose to take all early morning classes. This allows me to not miss any classes because of games. Also the positive of being an athlete at a D3 school is that a ton of travel isn’t required (not nearly as much as D1 and D2 anyways). So even if you do miss a class it will only be a one or two-time thing. And even then, be grateful that you have professors that actually care when you miss classes. At first it might seem frustrating, but it holds you accountable and overall makes you a better student.

5a. You are “excluded” to only meeting athletes.

At first, this might seem like the case when you first get to school. After all you’re spending tons of time with your team (especially considering 2 or 3 a days). And on top of that, fall athletics arrive before everyone else. It’s also easy to stick to other athletes because you are going through similar struggles.

5b. You meet new people more easily at a small school and there’s more of an off season.

On the other hand, not only are you going to have a ton of athlete friends, but in a school this size, you can get to know everyone if you really want to. The division three level allows you to do lots of cool things that D1/D2 often can’t offer. This includes: going abroad, joining several clubs, playing intramurals, joining a sorority or fraternity, etc. ­That gives you a ton of opportunities to meet people outside of athletes. On top of that, your spring season is much more focused on staying in shape than conference games itself. That offers you the exact time you need to get out there and explore.


It's true that Division 3 athletics can't offer you athletic scholarships. But, before you put it down from experience, or especially as a bystander, please keep in mind all of the amazing benefits that come out of the challenges of being a D3 student-athlete.

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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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