NCAA Division I athletic programs get lots of attention thanks to multi-million dollar facilities, national television exposure and full-ride scholarships. But Division II and III schools quietly offer more student-athletes better opportunities to continue their athletic careers after high school. Of the 475,000 athletes playing NCAA sports, 300,000 play at D-II and D-III schools.
D-II and D-III athletic programs have lighter schedules and shorter seasons than D-I sports programs, giving student-athletes more time to focus on academics. And with more opportunities to participate, there are also more chances to win. NCAA Division II, for example, has one championship opportunity for approximately every seven student-athletes.
If you’re looking at non-D-I schools, you might be more interested in a school with a strong academic program than one that will help you play professional sports. Fortunately, Niche’s rankings give equal weight to academics and athletics, which allows schools not normally known for sports, such as MIT and the University of Chicago, to make the list.
Check out the following chart of the 50 best D-II and D-III colleges for athletes, and find an expanded list of the top 100 schools at Niche.com, where you can also view detailed charts for these categories: