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The Differences Between High School and College Athletics: Advice for the Transition

The Differences Between High School and College Athletics: Advice for the Transition

Hi! My name is Jeanie McCarthy and I’m the senior captain of Nazareth’s Women’s Tennis Team. As I just finished my fourth season of collegiate play, I’m often reflecting on my journey of being a student athlete here at Naz. Being a college athlete is amazing, but your life can get pretty busy at times and it’s a way different ball game than playing high school sports. Here’s some ways things are different and a little advice for you rookies out there preparing to enter your years as college athletes.


1) Time Management Now that you’re away from home and living independently at college, you are the sole person responsible for managing your time. In high school, we had our parents there to remind us when to be prepared for sports and when to do our homework. You also will have a completely different schedule in college than you did in high school. You may have no classes in the morning on certain days and classes in the afternoon or night on other days so it is crucial for you to plan when you will get your work done instead of cramming at the last minute. For myself, I plan out everything I need to do for the week, so I stay on track. It’s also important to make time for your social life! Be sure to stay on top of your work so you can enjoy some free time with your friends.

2) Balancing Academics at a Higher Level On a similar note as time management, you will be balancing school work that is completely different than your average high school coursework. The homework I did in high school compared to the work I’ve done in college is like night to day. In college, you will have more essays to write, articles to read, and research projects to complete. Also, you can’t forget about the lovely weeks of midterms & finals. No matter what school you attend, your academics will be more rigorous and extensive than high school. Thankfully, at Nazareth, our professors love student athletes! I can not thank my professors in the music department enough for their constant support of my participation in athletics and all the help they have provided me for over the past four years. Whether it was letting me take a test earlier, or understanding that I needed to miss class for away matches, I always knew they wanted me to be successful as both a student and athlete.

3) Awesome Spring Break/Winter Break Trips Many of our sports at Nazareth go on an annual trip during the school year to participate in a tournament or series of games/matches. My tennis team goes to Hilton Head Island, SC for Spring Break every year. We stay in condos on the beach and play matches against Division III schools from all over the nation.


4) Support from Other Athletic Teams At Nazareth, all of our athletic teams support each other. As a Naz student athlete, it is highly encouraged to go to sporting events other than your own. Instead of just representing your own specific team, student athletes at Naz represent Nazareth College Athletics. We are a family.

5) Playing all Year Long As a college athlete, you will have a regular season and an off-season so during both the fall and spring semesters, you will still be practicing and training (even when you are not technically in season). There will be mandatory practices, captain practices, and work out/lifting sessions that you must attend.

6) Opportunities in College for Further Improvement Nazareth College Athletics has provided me with abundant opportunities to succeed as a college athlete. I’ve participated in multiple tournaments through Nazareth, as well as playing at local tennis clubs in the Rochester area. If you want to improve your game, there should be nothing that holds you back! Personally, my coach has offered one-on-one private sessions during season to work on my game. Be sure to take advantage of all the opportunities offered that help your game!