When I was entering college as a freshman, it was made pretty clear to me by my parents that my job was to go to school and graduate in four years with good grades. Now they did not say that explicitly, but it was heavily implied. This was back in the late 1980’s for those of you keeping score and now in the 2010’s things have changed dramatically on the higher education landscape. American colleges graduate about half of their students in SIX years now.
Recently on www.mysoccerimage.com, there was an article on Why Graduation Rates Are Your Worst Enemy. In this article, they talk about the declining graduation rates across many colleges and universities across the country and some of the reasons for this decline. (This was derived from an article by Mark Schneider with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. To read the full article, go to http://www.aei.org/outlook/28863.)
While getting recruited to college and getting admitted to college are important, that is only where the work starts. Students must work to complete their degrees in a timely manner and graduate. Some studies have shown that it is helpful to have a year or two of college education, but the true value comes from obtaining a degree.
Reading these articles stresses the importance of the values that we talk about here at the D3 Recruiting Hub as well as the values of D3 institutions in general. First, academics is number one in high school and number one at D3 colleges as well. In both situations the student is there for an education and not just to play soccer—take care of the academics first. If you can’t do that, stop playing soccer.
Second is the nature and size of the institution. Most D3 schools are not very large when compared to their D1 and/or D2 counterparts. This smaller size usually means more individual attention to the individual student including smaller class sizes and more personal attention from your professors. In my four years at a D3 college and at all the D3 schools that I have worked, there were never TAs teaching classrooms filled with 100 or more students. My professors knew me by name and took a personal interest in my education. Some of my upper level classes had only 2 or 3 students. This more personal touch leads to more success for students because you are treated as a person and not just a body in a seat with 99 other students.
Lastly is the case of the transfer students. It seems whenever students transfer from one institution to another, there are always credits that won’t transfer. This translates to money! If you lose 12 to 16 credits when transferring to another institution you have basically tossed a semester’s worth of money out the window. Be sure that you are picking your college for the right reasons and not just for the soccer program! See the Making A Decision piece from earlier this year.
The bottom line is this—as a soccer player, the parent of a soccer player, or the coach of a soccer player, we want to help student-athletes make decisions on the college of their choice based on where they will be successful. Ultimately, the student-athlete is responsible for the decision that he/she makes and has to live with the consequences. As the expression goes, better to do it right than do it twice.
Questions? Comments? Drop us a line at email@example.com.