Why Not Division III?

By: Keirsten Sires Co-Founder/CEO of Locker Room Talk

Locker Room Talk (www.lockerroomtalk.com) is a platform that aims to keep the college recruiting process honest & easy. We help provide high school athletes and their families with invaluable information during the recruiting process. Locker Room Talk receives anonymous ratings on college coaches from current and former collegiate athletes. This provides transparency throughout the recruiting process and empowers college student athletes by giving them a voice. We also offer seminars, workshops and consulting to high school student-athletes across the country.  #RateYourCoach

D3 Recruiting Tips:

Contrary to popular belief, Division 3 athletics provide the largest number of opportunities and scholarships for collegiate student-athletes. That being said, DIII colleges might be the right choice for you. If you are looking to pursue an athletic career in DIII sports, here is some ways you can go about it.

Understanding DIII Athletics:

DIII athletics give you the opportunity to have a well-rounded college experience. Traveling during the season isn’t nearly as intensive as the big DI programs. Unless you are going away for spring break or you’re competing in the NCAA championship, you will most likely be able to get to your games via bus. This means you won’t be missing as many classes as DI athletes do. Off season is where you will have the opportunity to study abroad, get a job, an internship and focus on school. For more information check out DIII Life written by a Middlebury golfer. The article is about the benefits of being a DIII athlete, “The balance of academics and sports at a DIII school lets athletes capitalize on many opportunities. All in all, the balance of the environment at a DIII school sets up student-athletes for success on the field, in the classroom, after graduation, and in the workforce.”

Research:

During the recruiting process, it is easy to get swept off your feet with coaches contacting you. Make sure the colleges you are looking at are the right fit for you athletically and academically. Researching the athletics at the school are paramount. Here are a few examples: Check the roster to see how many players are already in your position, watch live streaming games to see if you have a comparable playing style, see what the facilities are like, ask how many players are in your recruiting class, lastly, check the ranking and winning record over the past five years. A lot of top DIII programs are highly competitive and are also recruiting potential DI players

Pro Tip: Visit as many colleges as possible, even if they are close to where you live so you can determine what you do and do not like about colleges. It will make it easier to narrow down your list from early on.

Be Proactive:

DIII college coaches have less money to work with, especially when it comes to recruiting. There are also limited rules for player/coach contact and visiting colleges to even the playing field with D1. That being said, being proactive and reaching out to coaches early on will benefit your recruiting process. Emailing or filling out a recruiting questionnaire are great first steps, but if you feel strongly about a school, call the coach and let them know. It shows initiative and that you are serious about adding value to their program.

Pro Tip: Do not let your parents do all the work for you, you need to have a  close relationship with the coach. The coach will want to speak with you and get a sense of who you are so take the initiative.

Scholarships:

According to the NCAA, DIII is the largest division, and 82% of DIII athletes receive a scholarship averaging around $17,000, but none are athletic. To put things into perspective, 55% of DI athletes receive scholarships. How is this possible? DIII colleges provide a plethora of grants, need to be based and merit based scholarships that are open to any athlete. The good thing about DIII scholarships, (since they are not athletically based) is if you come across an injury each school varies in what they offer, so make sure this is another topic you are doing your research on.

Pro Tip: Be sure to communicate with the coach and admissions and explain what you are looking for as far as a scholarship is concerned this way they can plan accordingly. During this process you should ask questions, so have them prepared.

Personal perspective:

Navigating the DIII recruiting process is not glamorized as DI, but it is just as exciting. You have the chance to dive into each program and decide which school, social setting and athletic program is best for you. When I was going through the recruiting process, I took 3 DIII recruiting trips to Middlebury College, Skidmore College, and Brandeis University. Ultimately, I decided to attend Skidmore, but throughout my visits, I was able to bond with the team, meet the coach, sit in on classes and more so see what the day-to-day lifestyle was like for a college athlete. One of the best components of being recruited to a DIII college was that the classes were small and intimate and the student engagement was high in the classroom. Lastly, It is easy to get a full experience at a DIII school in just one day, which may not be possible at a big university.