There’s no secret that being a college student-athlete is hard work and takes outstanding time management and balancing skills, but along with that hard work comes many positive benefits and potential life changing opportunities. Today we’re going discuss the components college athletes must balance in order to successfully navigate the world of playing sports at the college level, as well as the overall benefits of being a college athlete.

As a normal college student, not even a college student-athlete, one must find a way to balance their academic life, social life, time for family, and sometimes a work life too. But as a college athlete, one must not only balance their academic life, social life, family time, possible work life, but also around 40-50 hours per week dedicated to their sport. College athletes must divide their time between classes, practices, homework, additional activities and traveling for games. Balancing and time management are not easy and do take practice to achieve a healthy and stable lifestyle. It may sound impossible, but its not. In fact, you’re probably more prepared than you think you may be. Being a High School athlete helps to prepare you to achieve the proper time management skills needed at the collegiate level. Succeeding as a college athlete not only establishes you to excel in balancing and time management but also prepares you beyond the playing field, which leads us to discussing some key benefits of being a college athlete.

The great thing about college sports is the fact that there are different levels of competition [varsity, club and intramural], which allows anyone to compete. While these levels require different skill level and commitment they all produce similar benefits. The advantages of competing in college sports are both immediate and lifelong.

Successful College Education

Access to a college education is a huge benefit and research shows that nearly 20 percent of student-athletes are first-generation college students. According to NCAA statistics, more than 150,000 student athletes receive $2.7 billion in athletic scholarships each year from NCAA member colleges and universities. Athletic scholarships can greatly offset college related debt for student athletes. Further, in most colleges, students who play sports are required to keep up their grades and achieve academic success. It is reported that college athletes graduate at rates higher than college students in general.

Solid Support Circle and Services

College student-athletes have a substantial amount of support. Whether its helping students through emotional slumps to encouraging their academic aspirations, coaching staff and fellow team members add to the already support of professors. Student athletes receive academic support such as state-of-the-art technology and tutoring, and have access to athlete-focused academic advisors in addition to traditional academic advisors. As for teammates, between spending so much time together, sharing a passion for the sport, and riding the emotional rollercoaster that is wins and losses, a college athlete is likely to form deeper friendships with teammates than with friends outside of the team.

Fitness and Health

Participating in athletics affords not only the benefits of regular physical activity but also a motivation to learn about and practice good nutritional habits. Some schools even hire nutritionists and dietitians to work with each individual athlete. College student athlete also have regular access to world class coaching, facilities and workout equipment.

Open Doors and Preparation for Life

Participating in a college sport prepares you for life after graduation and can often open doors enabling you participate in the professional world. The social networks that are developed through athletics and the team building skills learned while playing a college sport can give college athletes a head-start in the business world. Having been a good leader or a good team player in college prepares you for a professional setting and makes for an attractive potential employee, not to mention the time management skills learned as well. It is noted that increasingly, the business world is focusing on creating a team environment in the workplace where people work together effectively toward a common goal and a college athlete, who has practiced this skill for years, could potentially be an ideal candidate.

Overall, there is an overwhelming amount of positive impact that the experience of being a college athlete rewards. The life lessons, level of responsibility, skills learned, and connections made are proof that you are getting the very most out of your college athletic career.