I was talking with one of my clients about her decision to go to a Division III gymnastics team and this is what made her decision easy.
1. She wanted to be wanted: After all the years of doing the sport of gymnastics she wanted to be on a team where the coaches showed her that they really wanted her on their team.
2. She wanted to compete: She could have walked on to a Division I school, but the odds of competing on more then one event were slim. She did not want to be an observer but a participator on a team.
3. She wanted the best education: The Division III college had the best program for her desired major. She knew after four years she would need the degree for the rest of her life and she did not want to compromise the athletics for the academics.
4. She was offered a substantial academic scholarship: As long as she kept up her grades to a certain GPA she was guaranteed academic funding.
Don’t get stuck on the name of the college or the “division level”. It is important to evaluate the academics, athletics and finances that best fit your situation. Remove the division level and college name from the discussion. Focus on the overall opportunity at each college.
Also, do not underestimate the power of being wanted by a college coach. There is a big difference between being allowed to be on a team and being wanted to be on a team. You will know as you meet the coaches and athletes. You spend many hours in the gym together throughout your four years. Choose wisely!