As a member very large orthopedic group that trains residents, (believe me I am an academics first kind of guy) this may offend some people, but it is just my own opinion, and we all have a right to my own opinion.
My personal feeling is STEM degrees are the only degrees worth paying for with very few exceptions. And my advice with very few exceptions is don’t do a STEM degree or attend an HA at any level while playing baseball.
Neither I nor any of my partners would advise anyone to do a STEM degree while playing baseball. Nor would any of us tell someone to waste money trying to academically compete at an HA while playing baseball. We simply don’t care where you went to school and A’s are A’s and B’s are B’s, so you are better off to game-the-system to your advantage.
Think of it like college baseball recruiting. Coaches don’t care about where you went to HS, or what your HS coach/ history teacher has to say about you, or what your BA, ERA, etc. was. They care about how hard you throw, how far the ball flies off the bat, how fast you are, what your mechanics are like, and what your Travel ball coach( hopefully a former college coach, Pro or D1 player) has to say about your potential and character.
When we see an applicant for our residency program, we don’t care about where he went to school, we don’t care about what his med school instructors say, and we don’t care about the complexity of his schedule. Someone that took 6 years to go through school with a 4.0 still has a 4.0, someone that took 3 and did it with a 3.7 still has to compete with that 4.0.
In order of importance, we care about what his test scores look like(fastball velo, swing speed, 60 time -something we can measure against other applicants). Letters of recommendation from other ortho docs (what do his travel ball coaches-former D1 and pro players tell us about his personality, understanding of the game, character and overall potential.) Finally, we care about his mechanical inclination and fcan he do the work( control/command/throwing motion/swing mechanics).
This is my admittedly very egotistical opinion on this topic, and like I said there are always exceptions. But from HA D3 to the SEC - these are the coaches careers, and they get paid to win baseball games, not graduate players. There were a few exceptions we came across. There were a few HA programs that I really felt did it in a pure way.
They hardly talked to us about baseball when we visited and would tell us about all the fantastic opportunities and job offers their players had. It was awesome at some of them. They graduated right at 100% or just below it, and it seems everyone had great jobs lined up.
But, all their baseball teams sucked. My son said that just wasn’t what he was looking for. So baseball first with pre-req classes followed by the real academics when baseball is done.