How do Experiences of First-Year Student Athletes Compare to Their Peers?

This note highlights the experiences of student athletes, and how they differ from those of their non-athlete peers, using data from the Mapworks Fall 2013 Transition Survey. More than 190,000 respondents from over 130 institutions participated. Because the question about student athletes was included in an optional module, not all students received the question. Of the more than 160,000 students who answered the question, approximately 9% identified themselves as student athletes.

Overall, athletes were similar to, or more positive than, non-athletes with regards to their academic lives. Student athletes were also more likely to report attending all of their scheduled classes, studying on a regular schedule, participating in class, and communicating with their instructors outside of class. Similarly, low percentages of both student athletes and non-athletes indicated difficulties balancing their commitments. Socially, student athletes were significantly more likely than other respondents to report positive experiences and perceptions. For instance, student athletes were more likely to indicate they were meeting people they liked or who included them in their activities, they fit in, and they belonged at their institution. Overall, student athletes are more satisfied with their social lives on campus.

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