benefits of being a college athlete

What are the Benefits of Being a Student-Athlete in College?

Playing sports in college and beyond is a dream held by many high school athletes in all kinds of sports.

The opportunity to continue playing a sport they love, experiencing camaraderie with new coaches and teammates, and representing their school are just some of the reasons why students go on to play college sports.

Yet, many students wonder if they can balance the time commitments involved in playing sports in school with their classes and homework. These concerns are valid, but students should still strongly consider being a college athlete and how it can pay off personally, financially, and professionally.

Today’s article will explore what being a student-athlete involves and cover the benefits of playing sports and being a student-athlete in college.

What is a Student-Athlete?

Colleges and universities of all shapes and sizes offer a variety of athletic programs and opportunities for students, from Division I athletics to club sports and intramurals.

Simply put, student-athletes are students who fulfill the responsibilities of both a student and an athlete. In addition to the courses offered by the college, student-athletes also attend practices, team meetings and events, and athletic competitions.

Furthermore, many athletic programs will require student-athletes to maintain a certain grade-point average (GPA) to remain eligible and adhere to a code of conduct and ethics to play for the school. For example, at University of Bridgeport, Division II student-athletes, coaches, and staff follow National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and East Coast Conference rules and regulations.

Four Benefits of Being a College Athlete

Being a college athlete comes with a variety of responsibilities and commitments. However, student-athletes gain benefits through those responsibilities, commitments, and experiences that serve them long after they stop playing.

Benefit #1: Developing Interpersonal Skills

By playing and working alongside teammates and coaches, student-athletes learn and develop essential life skills like leadership, time management, and working with others to achieve a common goal.

Plus, by balancing school work and playing sports, student-athletes develop a solid work ethic, which will help them in their future careers and make them attractive to prospective employers.

Benefit #2: Long-Lasting Friendships

One of the best parts of college is finding and forming life-long friendships. College sports teams take this bonding to the next level, as student-athletes already have a lot of common interests.

Furthermore, student-athletes are often prepared to bond through team-building activities, practice, team competitions, and traveling. This mutual respect and dedication to the sport and each other allows student-athletes to form deeper bonds of friendship, not to mention the bonding that comes from victories and losses.


Did you know that University of Bridgeport offers NCAA Division II Athletics? Take a sneak peek at our athletic and recreational facilities through a student-led virtual tour!


Benefit #3: Academic Assistance

Every school wants students to succeed, and student-athletes are no different.

Hence, many coaches and sports programs offer and even require special tutoring and study sessions for their athletes in addition to the university’s student support services. Coaches also often choose to make themselves available for one-on-one mentoring meetings with athletes.

Lastly, many athletic programs, such as the one at University of Bridgeport, form a student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC), which comprises student-athletes who offer insight into the student-athlete experience.

This committee offers input on the athletic and academic rules, regulations, and policies that affect their lives on campus to foster change that will lead student-athletes to success.

Benefit #4: Financial Assistance and Scholarships

All students are eligible and can apply for need-based and merit-based financial assistance through scholarships and grants. However, student-athletes have the added benefit of available funding for athletic scholarships.

Like merit-based scholarships, athletic-based scholarships do not need to be repaid and can either be partial or full-ride scholarships to help student-athletes offset the cost of their education.

Remember that only student-athletes playing for their college or university are eligible for athletic scholarships. Also, keep in mind that athletic scholarships are not the only way to fund an athlete’s education. Various other financial assistance options exist, like federal Pell Grants, academic scholarships, outside scholarships, and loans available to help pay for college.

Students should research the types of financial aid at their desired school or university to explore their options.

Being a student-athlete is challenging—juggling commitments on the field and inside the classroom. Still, for most, the benefits far exceed, outweigh, and alleviate any concerns or reservations about playing sports in school.

As a National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division II school, University of Bridgeport offers sports teams for the following:

  • Men’s Sports:
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Cross country
    • Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
    • Lacrosse
    • Soccer
  • Women’s Sports
    • Basketball
    • Cross country
    • Gymnastics
    • Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
    • Lacrosse
    • Soccer
    • Softball
    • Volleyball

With pristine sports facilities, dedicated coaching staff, and various sports teams, University of Bridgeport is ready to help student-athletes succeed and thrive on and off the field. We can’t wait to help you pursue your passion and love for sports and obtain a quality education.

Contact us today to learn how you can become a part of the Purple Knight nation at University of Bridgeport!