Curious about what a typical day is like for a college athlete in the US?
A day in college for a student-athlete is challenging, fun and busy. Depending on which college, how far you are and which sport you play, the days will vary.
However, here’s our best overview of a typical day for a student-athlete:
Introduction to college life in the US
Of course, depending on what sport you do and what time of year it is, a weekday can vary.
Basically, though, there is a lot of structure to the days and time at college.
As a Student Athlete you have 2 different schedules:
The athletic schedule
the academic schedule.
Since you are admitted to the College as a Student Athlete, your academic schedule will always take into account your athletic schedule so that you can prioritize your practices and games.
Your professors and academic advisors will always understand the importance of your sport and will therefore also actively help you juggle and balance sport and study.
There is also the possibility to “build” your own school timetable. One of the advantages of college in the US and the fact that there are so many students is that there are many classes to choose from at different times of the day. Therefore, you can almost freely choose the time of day you want to have your classes, depending on whether you prefer morning, afternoon or evening classes.
The main constraint in terms of being able to choose freely is when in the day your training is scheduled. For the same reason, you will also have classes with a wide variety of people, as every student in a college has an individualized schedule – which is in stark contrast to, say, a university in Europe
In general, a Student Athlete will have approximately 2-3 hours of classes in a day and approximately 2 hours of training, excluding activities such as pre- and rehab both before and after training.
An example of the daily routine as a student-athlete
You wake up and the day starts
The alarm clock rings and morning routines such as bathing and packing a bag are done.
Together with teammates and fellow students, breakfast is served in the canteen areas on campus. The morning meal is very important in the US and the quality and variety is always high.
Continue to Athletic Center
After breakfast, as a Student Athlete, you typically walk to the Athletic Center with your teammates.
There are a wealth of facilities, such as large fitness rooms and fuel stations, to give you the best conditions to develop and perform as an athlete. Since you’re with your teammates, it’s also a good excuse to socialize.
After being both productive and social in the Athletic Center, it’s time for the first training session of the day.
Of course, depending on whether you have a match coming up or have just played, the training will be designed accordingly. A training session like this can therefore include anything from video analysis and individual technical training to team training sessions with a lot of matches and intensity.
Directly after training, it’s off with the gear and into active recovery in the Athletic center.
There is a strong focus on this in the US and the facilities are designed accordingly.
While sipping a protein shake or a Gatorade from a fuel station, the possibilities are endless, whether it’s an ice bath, foam roll or a trip in a compression suit.
Breakfast and lunch
After a busy morning, it’s time for lunch – once again in the company of teammates and fellow students in one of the canteen areas on campus.
A tour of the facilities at Iowa Western Community College, which is located in the NJCAA federation.
First module (Teaching)
Your first lesson of the day in a classroom. A subject is typically taught in modules of typically 1 hour and 20 minutes twice a week or alternatively once a week in a 2 hour and 40 minute module.
After the 1st module, you will usually have a one-hour break.
It can typically be spent on homework, a snack or simply relaxing on campus with fellow students or teammates – it’s up to you!
Second module (Teaching)
After an hour break, it’s time for the second and final module of the day.
Your planned activities, trainings and classes are finished and the day is yours.
After a long and hopefully fun and productive day, dinner is served in the campus dining hall. Like any other meal, it’s with fellow students, teammates and friends.
The day is over and evening is approaching. The time is all your own, but as you live on campus with lots of other people, there are plenty of opportunities to socialize or relax, as well as do homework or work out.
Canteen facilities and dining options at Virginia Tech University. A dining hall at College is very similar to a food court at the malls we know.
How does it work when we have competitions away from home?
One of the coolest things about being a student athlete in college is traveling all around the United States.
With weekly matches, there are also a lot of away trips and they are often far away. So it’s not uncommon for a flight or a lot of hours in a team bus and you inevitably become close with your teammates from the time you spend traveling together.
You’ll often miss half a day or a full day of lessons on away trips and it takes discipline to make up for lost time and keep up with the pace of the sport. Luckily, the coaching team is also good at reminding the athletes and giving them time for school-related things on the trips. Being a college athlete is both a privilege and a challenge and this is certainly reflected in the many great trips to various colleges in the US.
The perfect way to combine sport and education?
We won’t mince words; college life for a student-athlete is both unique and really cool.
You spend every day with what will quickly become your close friends, you play the sport you love almost every day – all while earning a recognized international bachelor’s degree.
Is it challenging? Yes, definitely! Balancing your commitments, responsibilities and time in college is not easy.
Is it worth it? More than you can imagine. Everything you can take away, from the experience to the training, exceeds the challenges more times than can be counted.
You can read more about
how a Scholarship works
what it requires
here on our blog.
We also highly recommend checking out a few videos on YouTube with the search ‘A Day In The Life of a Student-athlete‘.
They give a great picture of the college experience and everyday life in the US.
If you are now, or have ever considered going to college, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.