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Winning in Academics and Athletics: How Course Sharing Supports Student-Athletes

Published by Acadeum

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, institutions are continually seeking innovative ways to better support all student populations. One group that often requires unique course scheduling solutions and other accommodations is student-athletes. All sizes and types of institutions serve student-athletes, and nearly all institutions are looking for ways to help student-athletes balance the demands of academics and athletics.

As the NCAA notes, “One of the biggest adjustments to college life is learning how to manage your time between academics, athletics, employment, social life and perhaps most importantly, sleep.” The demands placed on student-athletes can be daunting, but Acadeum empowers institutions to respond to those demands by sourcing solutions that remove barriers for student-athletes, so that they can thrive academically and athletically throughout their college career.

Continue reading to learn how Acadeum helps institutions support student-athletes with a focus on flexible course scheduling, reducing academic stress, and ensuring timely graduation. 

Flexible Course Scheduling
Student-athletes often face demanding training and competition schedules that conflict with their academic schedules. Through course sharing, institutions gain access to a vast network that includes scheduling options from partner institutions and provides the flexibility needed to accommodate student-athletes’ sports-related obligations.

Students can leverage summer and winter terms to access the courses they need to obtain their degree or lighten their course load in the fall and spring. Clarke University is part of the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium and uses course sharing to support scholar-athletes and navigate demanding schedules. Dr. Susan Burns, vice president for academic affairs at Clarke University discussed how they use winter term to assist athletes and remarked, “Our coaches work directly with faculty academic advisors to help scholar-athletes remain eligible. We plan to use winter term courses to ease the pressure created by spring sports travel.” This flexibility helps institutions working with student-athletes find alternative schedules and better assist them in creating a balanced academic and athletic college experience.

Reduction in Academic Stress
The constant juggling of athletic and academic responsibilities can take a toll on student-athletes’ mental and physical well-being. In this opinion piece in Higher Ed Dive, the author describes their struggle to balance academics with athletics and reflects, “I spent the first two years in college struggling to balance academics with athletics, coming on and off academic probation, and eventually falling behind so much that I stopped attending classes.”

While there is no substitute for mental wellness, accommodating student-athletes’ schedules and keeping students on the pathway to graduation can lessen scheduling and financial stresses for students and their families. Angelo State University (ASU) helps all learners, and specifically student-athletes, stay on track with their degree plans by matching students to approved online courses with partner institutions in the Acadeum network.

Meagan Word, director of student academic progress at ASU underscored how course sharing helps ASU reduce academic stress for their student-athletes and said, “NCAA requires that student-athletes complete certain credit hours each term. Through Acadeum, we’ve been able to really increase our course offerings for the eight-week courses or for shorter terms than we typically offer, which is very exciting to our students trying to meet those eligibility requirements.”

Acadeum’s network helps to reduce academic stress by connecting institutions to alternative courses or flexible scheduling options that work in conjunction with student-athletes’ existing sports commitments.

Ensuring Graduation
One of the primary goals of higher education is to prepare students for the future. An insightful article from The Atlantic considers how improving support for student-athletes during college could help them better transition into their next phase of life after athletics, and notes “One key to helping athletes adjust to retirement might be supporting them better during college: a formative period for any young person, and one when sporting demands might kick into overdrive.”

Acadeum assists institutions in ensuring that student-athletes stay on track toward graduation by offering solutions for course availability challenges that may otherwise hinder student progress on the pathway to graduation. The course sharing network not only offers flexibility but also fosters a sense of community among institutions committed to supporting student-athletes.

Through partnerships within the Acadeum network, these pathways for success support student-athletes, allowing them not only to succeed in their sport but also to succeed in their chosen academic field.

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