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Student-athletes move on from sports after college
Student-athletes at the University of Colorado work hard to be competitive on the field and off. With sports consuming much of their time at CU, many might think that athletes will go on to continue their sports career after college. However, the NCAA found that only one out of 25 athletes will compete competitively after college.
One program at CU helps student-athletes focus on careers after graduation. The Success, Training, and Exit Planning for Students program (STEPS) works directly with student-athletes to help them find jobs after college.
STEPS Program Director, Alice Swanson, said it’s important to have a program like this at CU. “What the university found, the athletic department in particular, was that we do a great job at recruiting the students. . . and at the end of the career with us, four or five years, we go 'Thank you very much, now go find a job.’ And they're not always as prepared because of the training and the schedule that they keep in order to be a student athlete.”
Senior club soccer athlete, Heather Farmer, knows the importance of focusing more on academics than sports. “Even if you don't play sports, it's always good to have at least two options in life, because it won't always work out one way or the other. If you want to play soccer, definitely keep your academics up so you have that option open as well.”
Despite the push from academic advisors and students alike to have career goals besides sports after college, many people see student-athletes more as athletes than students. A study from the University of Nebraska found that most people who interact with student-athletes view them more as athletes than students. Yet, since most go on to pursue other careers, they will soon be leaving this label behind them as they start competing in a very different kind of arena, the job market. For Farmer, she hopes to pursue a career in Integrated Physiology after graduation and will join club teams for fun.