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September 3, 2021

Social Factors You Need to Consider When Picking a College

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When deciding which college to commit to, you have to consider many factors in addition to the athletic department. As an athlete, the social opportunities, academic programs, location, and learning resources are just a few of these important factors. It is important to make sure you feel comfortable in the place you will be spending the next 4-5 years of your life. In this article, we focus on the social factors to consider.

Social Factors to Consider

Regardless of who you are or where you’re from going to college can be overwhelming for anyone. As an athlete, you have a lot of the regular stressors and responsibilities, on top of athletic time commitments. You have to learn the campus, get acquainted with your coaches and facilities, and get settled into classes before you even have time for a social life. In a place where a social life and supportive friend group are so essential, a surprising number of college students struggle socially. 

The key for athletes to succeed socially in college is to focus on your interests. Once you’ve done this, you can find students and faculty on campus with similar interests as you! You can join clubs to meet people and learn the community better. Most colleges will have a club fair where you can walk around and explore all the campus clubs. Joining clubs allows athletes to feel more at home at their schools while pursuing interests outside of athletics. High school students should research their prospective schools’ club webpages, and see if there are any clubs they would like to join.

“I love that playing D3 allows me to both participate in varsity sports and also have time to be a member of other social groups on campus.” – Peter DeLalio, Wesleyan Baseball

Related: A Day in the Life of a Wesleyan Baseball Player

Another great social avenue for many athletes on college campuses is intramural sports. Many colleges take intramural sports very seriously, and it’s a great way to have some fun playing a different sport with some new friends. Most colleges have an intramural webpage, so taking a look to see what sports your school offers is another great social opportunity. Make sure you ask your coach before playing an intramural sport, especially if it’s close to season.

Related: Tips to Get Recruited for Fencing

How to Choose the “Right School”

When many high school students are deciding on colleges, they look for the “right school.” So, what is the “right” school in terms of social opportunities?

One of the biggest factors that plays into the decision-making process of high school students and the social lives of college students are the campuses themselves. College campuses offer a variety of amenities, such as foosball or ping pong tables that allow students to come together in a fun, healthy environment. 

A Student Union is a great place for students to meet other students, talk about homework, eat lunch, or simply just hang out on campus. Make sure you visit the Student Union before you commit to see if it feels like the “right fit” for you.

Why A Social Life is Important as a Student-Athlete

Another factor that plays into a student’s social success is their mental health. Many students struggle with stress and anxiety, and having mental health care on campus can help relieve many students’ social anxieties about moving to a new place. Many schools have departments that specialize in helping students socially, which could be really beneficial to people who get nervous in social encounters.

Related: An Athlete’s Mental Health Story and How it Impacted the Relationships Around Her

Overall, the thought of going to college can be just as scary as it is exciting. Anytime you are going to a brand new place with new people, it can be hard to focus on being social. Choosing the “right” school should be based on many factors, but making sure the school offers enough extracurricular activities, clubs, and support staff are key social factors that could help any student in the process of choosing the right school for them.

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