What Can Division III Schools Offer You?
Most high school student-athletes dream of a full-ride scholarship at a Division I school. The reality may be different though, and many athletes will have to consider other options. And if you’re looking to land a scholarship to compete in college, one of your best options could be a Division III school.
But wait! Division III schools don’t offer athletic scholarships! But they do offer, however, is plenty of scholarship money that can help cover the bulk of your college education.
Division III is the NCAA’s largest division, counting 442 schools across 32 states. While those schools can’t offer athletic scholarships, they’re instead able to offer other types of financial aid packages. And, as many DIII schools are smaller, private colleges, plenty of funding for scholarships and grants is often available.
What Scholarships Do DIII Schools Offer?
While they may not be able to offer an athletic scholarship per se, most DIII coaches work with their administration to provide other types of scholarships and grants. That funding includes:
- Merit-based scholarships
As the name implies, merit-based scholarships can be earned based on your leadership or academic achievement. The potential for a merit-based scholarship underscores the need to keep your GPA as high as possible and pursue other leadership and extracurricular activities outside of athletics. That way, a DIII coach can help you get school paid for with a merit-based scholarship package while your athletic ability gets you on the team.
- Need-based aid
If you qualify, a DIII coach may be able to assemble a need-based aid package that’s built around grant money. Grants are an ideal way to pay for college because, unlike student loans, they don’t have to be repaid. Again, while it isn’t technically an athletics scholarship, many DIII athletes have their college expenses paid for through need-based aid packages.
What Else Can A DIII School Offer?
On top of more scholarship opportunities – even if they’re not athletic scholarships – Division III schools can offer you a lot more than a DI or DII school. Most important of all that is more balance between school and athletics. That means less of an emphasis on athletics as an all-consuming pursuit, and more time for academics, campus activities, and simply being a college student. Less time focused on athletics also means more opportunities to study abroad, serve internships, and more time to enjoy school while you plan for the rest of your life.
While DIII schools may require less time pursuing athletics, most also offer the opportunity for more playing time. While DI and DII programs may emphasize playing their scholarship athletes first, depending on your sport, the lack of athletic scholarships in DIII means you could even start as a freshman and play all four years. And, if you just can’t get enough competition, you may even be able to play multiple sports at a DIII school.
Add it all up and a Division III school could offer everything you’re looking for. That is, a chance to play at a higher level, scholarships or grants to cover your tuition costs, and the opportunity to enjoy being a “student” and an “athlete.” Given all that, it’s always worth seeing what DIII schools have to offer. Depending on what you’re looking for in a college, it could be an offer you can’t refuse!
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