Student-athletes: Choosing an academic major

Why social work is a good major for student-athlete to study

An important decision for student-athletes at the collegiate level is what academic major to study (and sometimes chosen for them). While some student-athletes put academics high on their priority list, some do not. Others may wrestle with maintaining a difficult major that they enjoy, or choosing a less difficult major that allows them more time for athletics. Whatever an athlete chooses as their academic major, they need to keep in mind that this will aid in their career success in the future. As a student-athlete, especially one in a sport that has professional prospects, it can be difficult for them to see much past their sport. However, every student athlete should choose a major that they can use in the future, after their athletic careers have ended (because this will happen to everyone at some time). In addition, some athletes have their major chosen for them by the athletic departments in order to ensure the athlete is able to continue to perform well within their sport, but let’s hold that topic for another time. A major that is fascinating, will broaden an athlete’s perspective, and will allow them ample time for their athletic endeavors, is social work.

The general public’s perception of social workers is that of DSS workers, burnout, and baby snatchers. However, as the media most often portrays the worst of any situation, this is also the case. Most social workers practice psychotherapy, or work for non-profits performing duties such as running programs or case management. I propose this as a major student-athletes should explore because not only is it interesting, it also enables them to use their popularity and recognition as an athlete for a good cause. Many organizations, especially those that work with children, would enjoy having an athlete that has worked hard and overcome obstacles as their social worker. Social work allows individuals to learn about different cultures and types of people, and more importantly themselves. Social work professors are also aware of the stressors that student-athletes may be experiencing as a part of their academic experience and can work with student-athlete to ensure their needs are being met, while not enabling them, and ensure they have success in their academics. There are also many opportunities social work majors can pursue after graduation, including a master degree to practice at a higher level. The skills learned through a social work education can also be applicable to many other professions or career aspects, including but not limited to: human behavior and interactions, cultural competence, ethics, research, program design and implementation. Social work as a major can also be transferred into various athletic professions because of their work with people, and teaching skill sets to individuals.

I hope any student-athletes reading this will at least consider social work as a major, and browse their school’s department of social work website to learn more. Remember that academics come first within college athletics and sport comes second. No matter how well you play in college, you will need your degree sometime in the future. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment. Also a big thank you to the reader who left a very kind comment last week! Your comments are appreciated and I am so glad to hear ya’ll are enjoying it and benefiting from this blog. We all can make a difference to improving the lives of athlete’s everywhere.


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