What are the challenges faced by NCAA student-athletes?
Continuing with our series of interviews concerning the life student-athletes, we are highlighting some of the challenges faced by some current and former college stars. Before discussing the challenges faced IN college, however, let’s look at the difficulties faced prior to attending.
The first step to being accepted as a student-athlete is being proficient in your sport. Obviously, the better the athlete, the higher-chance he or she has at getting a scholarship. However, athletes of all levels can try their luck on the ‘college tour’. Most athletes with very average talent can play, though they may not necessarily be able to receive a scholarship. In terms of academics, some proficiency in the english language is required, along with entry tests such as SAT and TOEFL
The offers from, and acceptance into, universities, all depends on the attractiveness of the candidate. Academic prowess, athletic capabilities and miscellaneous social skills are all factors.
During their tenure, student-athletes subject to an exceptionally busy schedule, which makes balancing social life, athletics and academics a challenging. On average, students can expect two to three hours of training per day for their respective sport to go along with fifteen hours of weekly classes. "My program was very well organized, with classes from 9am to 2pm followed by tennis from 3pm to 6pm and finally a few hours of study in the evening. " explains Romain Bogaerts, a former tennis player of Wake Forest.
However, coaches and teachers understand the demands of student-athletes, and are typically make themselves available during flexible hours. They also equip you with the tools to handle possible absences, allowing athletes to adapt to this particular lifestyle quite easily. "We can arrange to have a schedule compatible with our training and tournaments and it is rarely a problem to miss a course.” explains Julie Bernard, a golfer at Newman University, “The coaches themselves can organize study sessions"
Another athlete, Charlotte Verelst, echoes that belief: "The university provided a guidance counselor to help athletes organize their curriculum and ensure their success," said the former University of Massachusetts hockey player. The challenge is to find a rhythm for the first few weeks, which can be tricky, before getting used to the program and taking full advantage of the opportunity represented by this athlete-student status.”
Sofie Oyen, a former tennis player at University of Florida adds: "Having weekly matches and working late at night, I ended up tired at the end of several weeks. But over time, I managed to adapt to the rhythm."
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In two weeks, we’ll look at how to manage the comeback in Europe.