Editor's Note: Student-Athletes have access to numerous resources throughout their collegiate career including academic advisors, tutors, and internship opportunities. During a student-athlete's 2-5 year collegiate career there is adequate time to develop strong life skills with the help of the athletic department, but it starts with the student-athlete. It is easy for student-athletes to blame coaches, their sport, or the athletics department as a whole for being unprepared for life after athletics but until they take advantage of all of the programs provided the athletics department shouldn't be fully to blame.
Academic Advisors and Athletics Department Resources
College Athletics Department’s have academic advisors on staff that helps guide student-athletes throughout their college careers. This guidance begins before student-athletes are on campus and sometimes continue after the student-athletes’ careers are over. Before a student-athlete walks onto campus she and her academic advisor has already decided her classes, the times of those classes (to work around her practice schedule), as well as tentatively scheduled the classes for the following semester. Academic advisors’ jobs are to enable student-athletes to reach their full academic potential and help them pursue whatever degree the student chooses.
However, it is the student-athlete’s job to utilize the academic advisors and support staff to achieve these goals. Many times, these advisors are underutilized by student-athletes because student-athletes schedules are filled with: other academic meetings, classes, weight-lifting, practices, sport-related meetings, film, and community service events so at the end of the day they don’t want to spend time in more meetings, especially voluntary ones. That must change. Student-Athletes must realize that the academic advisors are not just another requirement mandated by the athletics department but they are a valuable resource that allows student-athletes to fully utilize their scholarships.
A full athletics scholarship provides student-athletes with waivers or checks for: tuition, living expenses, and books, which based on a four-university study totals to $41,686 per year. In addition to these costs student-athletes have access to tutors provided by the athletics department, the athletics department’s study hall, computers, and academic support staff. Using these athletics department resources is how student-athletes can take advantage of the system they are in. Although these exact services are generally offered to the university population the athletics department acts as a nexus for those services. Student-Athletes have access to many career building opportunities in the building they go to every day as opposed to the general population who typically has to trek to multiple buildings and centers for access to the same programs.
The athletics department is a one-stop-shop for student-athletes academically because the advisors have access to athletics department resources as well as information and connections with other on-campus opportunities. These opportunities include: résumé building, etiquette dinners, mock-interviews, paper editing, academic tutors (that typically come to the athletics department), job fairs, career advisement, and internship opportunities. Student-Athletes have many assets at their disposal but need to learn how to use them and get the most out of the athletics department while enrolled.
Coming up, AthletesLTD will talk more about how student-athletes can utilize all of the resources that athletics departments have to offer including how to further your future career while training for the upcoming season.