College Selection Factors: Athletics vs. Academics

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Whether it's a storied school with a rich history or a powerhouse school known for churning out pros, tradition is a key factor in college selection for many highly recruited athletes.

"Arizona State's baseball program is one of the best in the country every year. I knew if I went there I would have a good chance of getting drafted and playing professional baseball."
– Boston Red Sox / 2B Dustin Pedroia

"Everybody knows [the tradition of] Duke basketball. [But] when I committed to Duke, I realized that I was going to one of the best [academic] colleges."
– Chicago Bulls F Luol Deng

You get the picture. But do you get how important it is to choose an institution of higher learning for, you know, the learning? Let's face it. Even if you have a good chance of going pro [many do not], you still need a college education when you're done playing. So learning more about the academic programs and finding a school that fits your career interests should be among your top assignments.

If a school is courting you, use that special treatment as a key to open doors to your future. Stanford freshman cross country runner Alex Dunne says, "I got to meet with the head director of the English department when I was on my visit. She was so open to all my questions and concerns, and taught me a lot about the program. There are a lot of opportunities here for young artists and young writers."

Fellow freshman runner Evan Appel says he found "both a good athletic and excellent academic environment. Stanford seemed to have everything I wanted on the academic side of things, so I didn't feel like I would be compromising my decision or ruling out any professions. You go to school to learn, and I felt like Stanford offered that."

Remember student comes first in student-athlete.

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