As I discussed in the last two posts, one of the hardest things that student athletes face in their college decision-making process is how to get started. For the second part in this series, let’s discuss the important question of “What’s your major?” Specifically, what’s your major going to be in college?
The reason why this is important at the NCAA Division III level is very simple- to make sure that the schools on your list have the major you want to study. Most NCAA Division III colleges and universities are smaller than their Division I and Division II counterparts and have fewer choices when it comes to academic major. Moreover, most NCCA Division III schools have a few majors which are often referred to as their “big” majors. By this I mean, most schools have majors like business or history or math, but then there are usually three or four majors that are specialties at a particular Division III school; meaning the school will have a higher percentage of students studying those majors. These could be more specific programs like nursing, education, pre-med or pre-law. This will give you idea of how much effort the institution is putting toward that particular field of study and what resources may or may not be available.
You should be able to see the breakdown of students in each major by percentage on the schools website or you can ask in the Undergraduate Admission office. Most admissions counselors- and coaches for that matter- can tell you the “big” majors at their school without much effort.
Contrast this to the huge Division I schools like Penn State, UCLA, and Notre Dame that have everything from agriculture to zoology. With greater size, student populations, resources and money, these behemoths can offer more programs than their smaller Division III cousins. Most Division III schools though do not have the same breadth of majors available so you want to make sure they have something you like before falling in love with a particular school. I do not recommend changing what is your “dream” major, just because you like a particular school. I don’t believe you should give up on your own dream just because you like the coach or the campus or the other players on the team.
There is an NCAA Division III college out there with the major you are looking for, it is your task to find it. Coaches are good at swaying you to come to their school—it is their job to sell their school—so be aware of this in your decision making process. When you do find a school that you love and they have a major that you interests you, that is the winning combination!