Academics and Meeting Professors
Being a student-athlete is a GREAT experience when you’re in college and will teach you many life lessons, but remember you’re a student first. Being at a school that is right for you will keep you happy and engaged so that you can finish your degree.
You’ll want to make sure the schools you’re looking at offer your major, fit your academic skill level and teach in a manner conducive to the way you learn best. Besides doing basic online research for the schools you’re interested in there are several ways to get a little deeper to really learn about the academics at a particular school.
Most camps are held in the summer or during times that school isn’t in session so it’s hard to gain any real knowledge of the school’s academics while you’re there. Also while you’re at the camp you’re there to participate in the camp so it’s not the right environment to set up any meetings on your own.
Though this is not the ideal time to get an academic feel for the school you can talk to the coach and current team members about their experiences. Ask if they’re being challenged or like the classroom environment and about perks given to student-athletes, like priority registration and tutoring.
When planning your unofficial visit you’ll want to set up meetings with people all over campus. Set up a meeting with a professor or Dean in your desired major. Ask them about the program and what you’re interested in doing with your major. Also ask them if they foresee any changes happening in your major during your projected time at the school.
If you’re visiting during the school year see if you can sit in on a class; bigger schools will teach many of their general education classes in lecture halls which can be overwhelming for incoming students. College is a completely new experience and since you have the ability to set the schedule you want on this visit make sure you take in everything you can.
Since you don’t set your agenda on this visit you might not get to see everything you’d like while you’re there. You can handle this in one of two ways–ask the coach to set up a meeting with someone in the academic department or in your desired major. Sit back and see what the coach sets up for you.
Many coaches will make the arrangements for you to visit someone in your major, an athletic advisor, or have you sit in on some classes. You can get a good idea of a coach’s priorities by what they set up for you to see while you’re on an official visit.
Most students don’t get the opportunity that student-athletes have while in school. Student-athletes may receive priority registration, free tutoring, and a special athletic/academic advisor; it would be silly to take this opportunity and not leave with a degree. Make the most of it!
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