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Neuroscience major and D1 Track and Field Athlete

GiUziMGiUziM 10 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
edited June 2018 in Athletic Recruits
Looking for advice!
I'm a rising senior and I am in track and field. I'm hoping to enroll to UAB as a neuroscience major and a D1 track athlete (possibly on a full ride). However, many elite athletes don't have such rigorous majors as neuroscience. I'm in need of advice on how to manage both things in college. Is anyone here an athlete with a demanding major? Any tips? Is it POSSIBLE?

Background: I am a student-athlete with a 4.3 GPA and one of the top sprinters in the state. I have taken AP classes and gotten A's in them without having a lot of conflicting issues with my sport. I'm an all-A student ranked top 5% in class. Although I've had to miss several days of school throughout the year due to meets, I've been able to make work up quickly or do it in advance. I'm great on time management. Usually, I'd go straight to practice after school, take 1-2 hours to eat, shower, soak, and/or ice, and then get started on my homework and studying..usually not going past 11:30.

So tell me, do you think it's possible to have such a demanding major with labs and research while still being able to perform at my best as a D1 athlete? Please provide any personal experiences.

Thanks.
edited June 2018
26 replies
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Replies to: Neuroscience major and D1 Track and Field Athlete

  • stencilsstencils 394 replies4 postsRegistered User Member
    @GiUziM My daughter just finished freshman year as a D1 athlete in fencing as an engineering major. Her stats going in were nearly identical to yours and she did just fine. The hardest part were competition weekends as that seriously reduced her homework / lab completion time.

    The one thing I'd say might be different is that track is often a 3-season sport so if you're doing indoor/outdoor/CC, you'll be "on" all year. My DD really enjoyed the last 6 weeks of spring semester once her season was over, as it was nice to have some down time and time to get ready for finals.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22407 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    My daughter didn't have the academic stats you have but did her sport and engineering. She was very organized and very hard working. There were a few other STEM majors on her team, and they were the ones studying on the bus, studying while away at games, studying on Sunday mornings and Saturday nights. Because of her scholarship she didn't have to work during the school year, but she did work for a professor her final semester and regretted not doing that in other academic years; she liked the work and liked the money.

    Many athletes also go to summer school so they can take a lighter load during their season.
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  • jumpermomjumpermom 95 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    It's definitely possible and it sounds like you have the academic background to do it. My daughter just finished her freshman year as a D1 track athlete. It is definitely a year round commitment, but the coaching staff is dedicated to your success because they have money on the line (and they care). You will have mandatory study table hours your freshman year, also, which need to be looked on as a benefit, not a curse. Good luck...sounds like you'll do very well!
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  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 2456 replies41 postsForum Champion Athletic Recruits Forum Champion
    People do it all the time. But something will have to give. Sometimes that means taking classes in the summer, lots of times it means taking the fifth year as a red shirt. My son is in a different sport and while he isn't a neuro major he is a STEM guy. It seems from talking with him that the guys who have the hardest time getting everything in are the engineers.

    As you go through recruiting, you will likely hear that your college experience breaks down into three tracks - academic, athletic and social life. You can pick two, but it is hard to have all three. I think there is some truth to that, and if you want to be serious about your academics and your sport then you should expect to miss some Saturday night parties because you will need to be studying. It is just how it is.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1289 replies10 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You can do it! Will require great planning, commitment and hard work. And yes, your social life will be less active than others but it is worth it, esp if you get a free ride.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7577 replies79 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    No problem whatsoever ! In fact, running track may make you a better student. While in law school, I ran 10 miles almost everyday & lifted weights for 90 minutes everyday. Increased my ability to concentrate. Always felt great & slept well.

    I cannot think of an easier athletic commitment than as a sprinter. Overwhelmingly based on natural ability. No need for long runs to increase endurance.

    Much more difficult for athletes participating in the three main revenue sports--football, baseball & basketball. Had a nephew play baseball at Duke. Over 60 games a season, constant travel in addition to mandatory meetings, weightlifting & practice. No time to interview. Jobless Duke grad. Football is incredibly demanding.

    At many D-1 schools, athletes take courses with teachers who understand the time demands placed upon revenue sport athletes.

    P.S. Just think of it as exercise on a regimented schedule that you should do whether or not on a college sports team.
    edited June 2018
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  • GiUziMGiUziM 10 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    edited June 2018
    "I cannot think of an easier athletic commitment than as a sprinter. Overwhelmingly based on natural ability. No need for long runs to increase endurance."

    I'm a sprinter , as well as mid-distance haha, so I must do quite a few long runs to help build endurance lol. Speed endurance workouts are evil. But I understand. Thanks for the reply and advice. I definitely think it will help me concentrate.
    edited June 2018
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  • GiUziMGiUziM 10 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    @Ohiodad51

    "As you go through recruiting, you will likely hear that your college experience breaks down into three tracks - academic, athletic and social life. You can pick two, but it is hard to have all three."

    Yes, I've heard that from many recruiters, actually. I definitely think I'll just have to do academic and athletic and take those breaks given every once in a while to fit social time in. Thank you for the reply!
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  • GiUziMGiUziM 10 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    @jumpermom

    Thanks for the advice!

    "You will have mandatory study table hours your freshman year, also, which need to be looked on as a benefit, not a curse. Good luck...sounds like you'll do very well!" --I'll be sure to look at it as a benefit.

    I wish your daughter good luck in her next coming years in her events and academics!

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  • GiUziMGiUziM 10 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    @twoinanddone

    "Many athletes also go to summer school so they can take a lighter load during their season."
    Sounds like something I'll look into. I know I'll have to take a couple lab courses during the summer between Freshman and Sophomore year or else I'd be drowning. Thanks for the reply!
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  • GiUziMGiUziM 10 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks everyone for the replies! It's definitely going to be hard work, but I'll just take it a year at a time. I'll just have to get the handle on things. Also, I wish the best luck to all those student-athletes who are in the same situation as I am, or similar, who may be reading this.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7577 replies79 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    With respect to the comments regarding social life posted above: You can excel in all three areas = academics, athletics & social life. Live on a schedule for the first two, and be selective about the third.

    Also, you should socialize & relax on Saturday nights--unless you prefer to study in a sparsely populated library--just don't waste time standing around & getting wasted. Make your social time count as much as your athletic & academic time.

    P.S. Your initial post misled me when you wrote that you are "...one of the top sprinters in the state". Clearly, 800 meter run is not a sprint.
    edited June 2018
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  • AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 105 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    OP- Have you thought about GT? They have excellent athletic support and the degree would open a few more doors after you graduate. I know UAB is a solid school, but it doesn't carry the same weight outside the South East that GT does. UAB might be better if Med School is in your plans though.

    Just a thought.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7577 replies79 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    UAB is better for neuroscience, plus OP has an athletic scholarship.
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  • AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 105 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    UAB has a solid program but depending on what the OP wants to do GT might be a better option. Also, GT has excellent academic support for athletes that is probably better than at UAB. Basically, the OP wouldn't be the only high academic achieving athlete at the school.
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  • OnTrack2013OnTrack2013 245 replies5 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 2018
    Apologies for the long answer, but LOTS of related experience here…

    Parent of D1 male track athlete who is an Engineering major… He has just finished up his collegiate eligibility and will need one more part time semester (8 credits) to finish his degree.

    Coming out of HS, my son took one of his two OVs to UAB (assuming you are talking about that big SEC school that always does well in track). They had several track recruits out on the same weekend in late February. The academic advisor there told both my son and his dad, that they only wanted to keep athletes academically eligible, and are fine that the athlete graduation rates were somewhere around 60% . They told him he would have a hard time being a STEM major and being an athlete, it sounded harsh at the time, but was very honest. A quick scan of their roster will show that this is the case. The coach also pointed out that the men’s and women’s teams do not train together (the women’s coach for his event was great, the men’s not so much…) and the team had a very business/job like culture. The UAB head coach (who is still there...) also came out and said they would be recruiting each and every year to replace my son, as they do for all athletes, to keep them top of the rankings, so it was a very internally competitive environment, and not the “family” type my son does best in. My son was given an offer, which was a mix of in state tuition to attend the Honors college, (we don’t live in that state), and a small athletic %, which combined, covered about 75% of total COA). He was told that UAB gives out very few full rides to male freshman. Since this was not the environment my son was looking for, he declined the offer. Granted he is a one event (vertical jumper) athlete, but was nationally ranked for his event (Top 5) and he was offered more academic money (ironically for a major he was told to not have) than athletic.

    His situation may not be the same as yours and my son transferred after his freshman year in college because the other school he did attend didn’t work out. But short answer to your question is to know where you stand, (performance wise) for your team and use it to your advantage. You can do it, but maybe not at THAT school. My son specifically transferred to a weaker conference from his first school (which was ACC). In his new conference, at his current university, he was the conference leader/winner for the entire time, and one of the few athletes from his school who qualifies for the national championship meets. His event coach has done a mix of individual practices and/or made rest of the athletes for his event accommodate my son’s schedule. The coach has openly said “when you have the school record you set the practice time”

    If you are set on UAB, you will need to look out for yourself and work closely with your advisor. Don’t be afraid to ask your guardian/parent to assist.

    Even at his current school, which is very supportive, my son needed to force his athletic academic advisor to talk with his university academic department to vary the course map for his degree. My son took a loaded fall semester (~17-18 credits) and a light spring (12 credits) during his competition semester, and agreed to two summers of classes to graduate in 5.5 years with an engineering degree... He also needed an NCAA progress to degree waiver every year, (which is filed by the NCAA compliance office at your school), because of the way the re-arranged major courses show in the calculations. However, he gets good grades, so the dean of the school and his advisor readily supported him. So doing well academically and athletically gives you leverage, but you will need to find the right balance and a school/coach willing to work with you.
    edited June 2018
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22407 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I always disagree with the 'you can't have a social life if you are an athlete' thinking. Most athletes seem to hang out with other athletes so they make that a social life. My D was in a sorority (although not terribly involved, but that was her choice), had a boyfriend, went to concerts and Disney and the beach all the time. I think some of it was her personality, and I don't think if she'd have been out partying every night at any school.

    What did my D not do?
    *She didn't study abroad. She probably could have done that in the summer or maybe in a fall semester, but she didn't have a big interest. Her school has "Maymester" at Oxford, but she never knew if she'd be in the playoffs (was for the last two years) so that really wasn't an option.
    *She didn't do a co-op, and fellow students did 1-3 of them. (I think this was probably the biggest negative.)
    *She didn't get to take one course she wanted to, the cement canoe challenge, as it is only offered in the spring and involves a lot of travel when her sport is in season.
    *She didn't get to go on a 'Where the Boys Are' type of spring break because she always had games. Of course, she was less than an hour from Daytona Beach so could go there any time she wanted to.

    I don't think she felt she missed much socially because she was an athlete. I think athletics made her more focused academically. She got the flu twice during her last semester and both times got up and back to school immediately because she wanted to play (and not lose her stat of having started every game). If she didn't have sports, she might have stayed in bed groaning for a few extra days.
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  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 2456 replies41 postsForum Champion Athletic Recruits Forum Champion
    You can have a social life as an athlete. I had one in college, my son has one now. But if you want to do your best academically and devote yourself to competitive athletics you will not be able to party as much as your NARP friends. It is not just the massive time commitment, but nutrition and year round training are huge now, especially in D1. It is hard to party until the wee hours and then make a 6:00am conditioning session, even if you don’t have a lab report to write. Trust me.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22407 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    6 am? What, are you sleeping in? Football players might get that prime time in the weight room, but other teams are in there at 5:30!

    However, not every student is out partying all the time. My non-athlete daughter works at the gym and took the 5:45 shifts because she likes it (and that walk when it is -20 degrees really wakes her up). She also takes 8 am classes.
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  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 2456 replies41 postsForum Champion Athletic Recruits Forum Champion
    I was reaching way back to my own experiences. Actually the 6:00am start time wasn’t horrible. It was the walk back, uphill, in the winter. My legs still ache just typing that, lol.

    And football gets their own weight room most places ;)
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