What should high school guidance counselors and coaches know about Division III?
Division III offers student-athletes unique benefits from participation in intercollegiate athletics:
- Student-athletes can continue to compete in a highly competitive athletics program while receiving all benefits of college life.
(The proof: Counselors and coaches can put prospective student-athletes directly in touch with the institutions they are interested in. They can guide them to ask the institution for examples of student-athletes who are receiving a comprehensive educational experience – a holistic approach that includes rigorous academics, competitive athletics and the opportunities to pursue other interests and passions. They can help them evaluate the campus environment, by asking what percentage of the student-body participates in athletics? What programs or processes exist to integrate the student-athlete into the campus culture and the educational mission of the college or university?)
- Student-athletes can focus on academic achievement and graduate with a comprehensive education that builds skills beyond the classroom.
(The proof: Counselors and coaches can learn about and understand the prospective student-athlete’s academic interests, and connect them with programs that are strong in that area or field of study. They can guide them to ask the institution about recent or current student-athletes who can attest to selecting that school and the Division III experience for its academic programs.)
- There is access to financial aid for college, without the obligation of an athletics scholarship.
(The proof: Counselors and coaches can emphasize the availability of financial aid, and guide prospective student-athletes to ask what percentage of the student body and/or student-athletes receive some form of grant or non-athletics scholarship.)
- There are opportunities to play more than one sport.
(The proof: Counselors and coaches can learn about and understand the sports in which the prospective student-athlete is interested. They can encourage the prospective student-athlete to ask about the breadth of an institution’s athletics program – participation, sports offerings, etc.; about its athletics successes throughout the various sports it sponsor; and about its successes in NCAA championship competition.)
- Student-athletes are responsible for choosing their own paths, and will discover their potential through opportunities to pursue many interests.
(The proof: Division III members believe the college experience is a time of learning and growth – a chance to follow passions and develop potential. This happens most importantly in the classroom and through earning an academic degree. The Division III experience also provides for passionate participation in a competitive athletics environment, in which student-athletes push themselves to excellence and build upon their academic success with new challenges and life skills. And student-athletes are encouraged to pursue the full spectrum of opportunities available during their time in college. In this way, Division III provides an integrated environment for student-athletes to take responsibility for their own paths, follow their passions and find their potential through a comprehensive educational experience.)