Sometimes athletes must dig deep to find a playing opportunity. Less than two percent of high school athletes end up playing at a NCAA Division I school or a Division II school. That leaves 98 percent of athletes to either give up on their dream of continuing their athletic career or to compete at an NCAA division III college, junior college, or an NAIA school.
Financial Aid and Grants to Play Division III College Sports
You may know that division III schools don’t offer scholarships, but did you know they offer financial aid and other grants? Division III colleges often help athletes pay for school by providing grants and other aid to academically qualified athletes. Depending on the criteria for each grant, athletes can end up with a large amount of their tuition paid for, if not all of it.
Start by contacting college coaches to learn more about the grants their schools offer. Coaches may not have the power to get you aid, but most can tell you the qualifications and what you need to do. You can also check with the admissions, and financial aid departments to learn what aid a school offers.
The NCAA does monitor how division III schools allocate their financial aid, but each school determines who gets aid. The NCAA will step in and review a school if they expect a potential violation.
School/Life Balance at Division III Schools
The college experience at a division III school doesn’t resemble that of a big school at all, but it still provides good education and high-level athletic competition. Athletes spend less time each week strictly on their sport, but the level of play remains high. Keep in mind that even when you factor in division III schools, less than 5 percent of all high school athletes go on to play in college. That means you will still compete against athletes that are better than 95 percent of the athletes in the country. The difference is division III will offer you a better balance between school and athletics, which has its advantages for many athletes.
There Are Hundreds of Options
There are over 440 division III colleges in the country. Most of them are in the North East and Mid-Atlantic regions, but you can find them all over the country. Division III could answer your desire to play in college, so start looking at them today. You can search for colleges with your sport by creating an account on our Recruiting Database.
Once you start researching them, you’ll find that division III schools are easy to visit because of their proximity to each other. Depending on exactly where you are, you could easily visit three or four schools a day and get a better idea of the options they offer.
The Moral of the Story: Grades Matter if You Want to Increase Your Chances
Plain and simple: student-athletes need to focus on academics. You won’t get financial aid to a division III school without good grades, but the NCAA is cracking down on eligibility at the divisions I and II levels too, making grades more important than ever. If you want more options to play in college, look at division III colleges, but it still begins in the classroom.