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Our 2020 position player has been working through the recruiting process with a focus on high academic D3 and potentially ivy league schools.  He has recently received some interest from a couple of non-ivy D1 schools.  He would like to pursue a degree in science or engineering, and we are having a difficult time determining the D1 schools that would make this type of degree possible in conjunction with playing baseball.  My impression is that there aren't many D1 schools where this would be possible.  Some schools list players' majors on their profiles, which can help, but many D1 schools don't appear to do this.

If your 2020 wanted to pursue a STEM degree at an academically challenging school, what D1 schools would be on your list?

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My daughter (softball) majored in forensic science. She had to take some of the lab courses in the summer. I’m not sure there is an absolute list of schools. 

High academics are more likely to be patient with STEM majors. When I was chatting with a NESCAC parent I was told if it comes down to academics or a game the player isn’t on the bus. 

Look at rosters to see if there are STEM majors on the team. When your son is talking with coaches be firm but not pushy about being a STEM major. Some coaches will recruit the player with the idea he can convince him to switch majors freshman year.

Last edited by RJM

Backyardonfire,

Welcome and best of luck in your son's STEM recruiting journey.   In short, my son had the best fit and recruiting experience with D1 Ivy, D1 Patriot and select D3 engineering schools.   We did our research, and that is where it took us....over 20 months of trying to figure it out.   There are others on the board who took a similar path and came to the same conclusion as we did, and a handful of others who took a different path.  It is not a one size fits all solution. 

I agree with RJM that you really need to inspect college rosters to differentiate contender from pretender.  Good luck and keep the questions coming if you have more.

Last edited by fenwaysouth

There are several rather lengthy prior threads on similar topics.  Fenway, RJM, I, and others who have been through it have thrown in our .02 on several occasions.  You should be able to find these by searching for topics like engineering, pre-med and STEM.  However, here is a link to one of them:

https://community.hsbaseballwe...79#17625209023565179

Bottom line, it's doable.  And it's doable at most schools.  IMHO, the kid is usually a bigger factor than the school.

Best of luck.  Let me know if I can help.

 

I would suggest asking the HC/RC straight up what problems will exist with a STEM major.  My son was leaning towards pre-med/science while visiting D1 schools.  His right fit school HC told him up front that it is extremely difficult for those majors since classes will be missed, labs will conflict in the evening, and generally instructors are not very flexible in that major regarding make-up exams, missed classwork, labs, etc.  HC said it is possible but decisions will be made during conflict, and it would be highly encouraged baseball be given priority.  Son ended up changing majors lol.  My nephews play D2 & D3, both health science majors, and they haven't had that conflict, always accommodating.  If high academics are at the top of the list plan accordingly.  Better to know upfront than to think I can handle both programs when historical data points otherwise.  Good luck

Thank you for the thoughtful responses.  Reading some of the posts on this site just has me a little apprehensive about D1.  Hearing that 50% of players eventually end up at another school . . . do you see that same level of churn at high-academic D1s?  Our 2020 isn't concerned about the competitive aspects of working to attain and keep a spot, but as a parent I feel like we should be guiding him towards better odds at stability.

Trust In Him posted:

I would suggest asking the HC/RC straight up what problems will exist with a STEM major.  My son was leaning towards pre-med/science while visiting D1 schools.  His right fit school HC told him up front that it is extremely difficult for those majors since classes will be missed, labs will conflict in the evening, and generally instructors are not very flexible in that major regarding make-up exams, missed classwork, labs, etc.  HC said it is possible but decisions will be made during conflict, and it would be highly encouraged baseball be given priority.  Son ended up changing majors lol.  My nephews play D2 & D3, both health science majors, and they haven't had that conflict, always accommodating.  If high academics are at the top of the list plan accordingly.  Better to know upfront than to think I can handle both programs when historical data points otherwise.  Good luck

This is my exact concern.  Sounds like it really needs to be addressed on a school by school basis.

There are many coaches in College Baseball, outside of the Ivy, Patriot, and HA D3's, who will discourage STEM majors once a kid gets on campus.  Baseball needs to come first in those programs.  And with coaching changes & philosophical changes in programs, it is difficult to stay on top of which programs are good for STEM majors.

I would have a prospective recruit ask a lot of questions, and carefully examine rosters.  Chances are, if there aren't any STEM majors on a roster, your kid is unlikely to become the first.

Exceptions might be if the kid is just so freaky smart that they can easily handle the academic load of being a STEM major in as many hours a day as the rest of the roster puts in on their school work.  Or, if you are a pitcher throwing 95+, the coaches might be willing to look the other way if you have to miss some practices due to academics.  

backyardonfire posted:

Thank you for the thoughtful responses.  Reading some of the posts on this site just has me a little apprehensive about D1.  Hearing that 50% of players eventually end up at another school . . . do you see that same level of churn at high-academic D1s?  Our 2020 isn't concerned about the competitive aspects of working to attain and keep a spot, but as a parent I feel like we should be guiding him towards better odds at stability.

Re high academic D1 and transferring ... Typically kids going D1 see themselves as a pro prospect to some degree even if the odds are long. How the player at a high academic D1 views baseball versus academics will determine whether or not he transfers or not.

I’m guessing unless they’re seen as a high level prospect entering a Stanford, Vanderbilt, Duke or similar baseball power five they’re more likely to drop baseball and stay for the academics than transfer.

As others have shared ask the coach.  My son had coaches that basically said our players generally don't study a that field.  Also, look at the rosters of schools of interest. If no players are studying more challenging academic fields it could be they are discouraged from doing so, but you never know without inquiring.    A lot of players gravitate to the sports industry which is clearly the primary interest of many. 

The biggest factor for success academically is time management.  The average high school player goes to school by 07:30 then goes from class to class ending around 2:30.  They then participate in their practice for several hours, maybe finishing by 6:00.    Many players play other sports so have a year round activity.  On game day the day goes way into the evening.  That is a very full day that is very much set for them.  If they are taking challenging course in high school they have to hit the books after practice or double down on weekends to stay up on material.  There isn't a lot of free time at their disposal. 

In college they have three to four hours on a typical day for classes.  Baseball related activities for five hours.  They have a tremendous amount of time for academics if they are able to manage their time.  It clearly is a much more involved schedule than a student who is not an athlete but if time management is not an issue the juggling of two significant time investments is very doable. 

Invariably there are classes that are offered only during baseball practice.  These can be a challenge and coaches handle them their own way.  Professors also handle absences in their own way.  How the school and coaches handle these conflicts is something to find out.  My son's coach routinely has to work with these challenges.  Usually, it is with Seniors who are taking upper level classes that are mandatory and not offered many times. 

It is also very helpful to take classes in the Summer even if Gen Eds to lighten the load during the season.  It is relatively easy to take classes at a community college and participate in Summer leagues if desired.

Strive to find the right fit from a program perspective and academically.  Ultimately, the coach has to select the player to be on the team.   Your son can make it work but finding the right place may be tough simply because only a few doors may be open.  Having a fall back/safety option to a strong DIII is always a good plan.  You have to evaluate the DIII the same way.  There are some DIII programs that will face the same scheduling challenges. 

My son's school has practice which is followed by conditioning.  This puts all the athletic non-game day activities in a single time management block from around 1:30 to 6:30 on any given practice day.  If you have conditioning in the morning it adds considerably to the time management challenge. 

Good Luck

 

 

 

backyardonfire posted:

Our 2020 position player has been working through the recruiting process with a focus on high academic D3 and potentially ivy league schools.  He has recently received some interest from a couple of non-ivy D1 schools.  He would like to pursue a degree in science or engineering, and we are having a difficult time determining the D1 schools that would make this type of degree possible in conjunction with playing baseball.  My impression is that there aren't many D1 schools where this would be possible.  Some schools list players' majors on their profiles, which can help, but many D1 schools don't appear to do this.

If your 2020 wanted to pursue a STEM degree at an academically challenging school, what D1 schools would be on your list?

Hi BYOF: Welcome to the site..like the topic.  Many good points so far. One of the best I've read is MTH's which says that "the kid is a factor". Totally agree. My son is a Middle infielder  &  STEM major (Chemical engineering) at HA D1. It takes good time management skills. Your best options are with the Ivy, Patriot , and HA D3's which have strong science programs. The Ivy league for one has an "off day" (Monday for most) which is when the athletic science majors take labs; the athletes pretty much get first "dibs" at these slots. Midweek games are tough and if rainouts on weekends cause games moved to Monday it does become an issue. The athlete should keep the professors abreast on matters and always have a "buddy" in each class to take notes, should there be an absence due to a game. Early meetings and building a rapport with the assistants who run study sessions and labs is key as well.

 Also, son had to keep up with the rotation of classes and when are offered (what term). Sometimes he had flexibility in loading up on lab courses in the fall. One factor I haven't seen in the responses so far is the TRAVEL involved with the conference where son lands. Son had an offer from BIG STATE U. He had big concerns of the travel involved with midweek games. Makes a STEM major harder to seek. Fortunately he landed in a better school all around. Relevant topic too as son said he has had about 10 messages in the past week from an freshman about majoring in engineering and playing baseball. Good luck to your son; I applaud you for looking into this early. Make sure your son get his test scores (SAT/ACT) completed soon.

RJM posted:

Here’s a question Fenway could answer based on his son’s experience ...

Is it easier for a pitcher versus a position player to be a STEM major and why?

I am interested to see Fenway's experience.   I suspect the answer will vary from school to school.  At son's school it was HARDER for a pitcher to be an STEM major than it would have been for a position player.  Son played for two different pitching coaches.  Both required pitchers to be at the field before position players.   Even when they were done with their pitching work, head coach required them to stick around to shag balls for hitters.   One of the pitching coaches often made them stay after games to do extra running. 

 

RJM, MTH, and others

My son (pitcher) told me early on that he would not have been able to do what he did as a position player.  Those were his words based on his situation.   I recall the discussion vividly because he was thinking about asking the coach about becoming a two-way player.  His freshmen year there wasn't much offense and he felt he could contribute.   I asked him if he had enough time to do this, and he quickly realized that he didn't have time for two workouts let alone the position players workouts.  His pitching coach was extremely flexible with workouts, bullpens, and strength and conditioning.   Knowing your position coaches style and willingness to work with your schedule is incredibly important.   We had the most success with these type of position coach discussions with D1 Ivy, D1 Patriot, and select D3s with engineering.   Other D1 programs were not as flexible or forthcoming with information.

Totally agree with MTH and Ripken Fan that the "kid is the (major) factor" and time management is absolutely critical.  However, I also believe some D1 programs can overwhelm these kids where the kid isn't given the opportunity to be the factor.   There are only so many hours in the week, and I got the sense my son milked his time for 4 years as a student athlete and engineering major.  As an example, when he came home for winter break he would sit at our dining room table every day for a month getting a jump on next semesters school work.   He was that disciplined and that interested in his school work.   As I've stated before this was my single biggest concern when we dropped him off in the Fall of freshmen year.   By the end of first semester, we weren't as nearly as concerned. 

A friend's son committed to an SEC school as a HS sophomore.  They assured him that it would be possible to play baseball and be a pharmacy major.  After fall semester of his freshman year he had already found that what the baseball coaches say and what the academic people (professors) say are two completely different things. One prof just flat out told him "athletes don't take my class" when he tried to explain he was supposed to catch a bullpen.  He made it thru his freshman year, but there was no way it was going to work....ended up transferring and eventually changed majors. 

Last edited by Buckeye 2015

57Special,

FWIW...Case Western was one of the D3 engineering schools (I was referring to above along with a few others) my son targeted and had many conversations with.  Clearly they were looking for players like him and were going to make it work as they had a roster with a handful of upperclassmen engineers at that time.  While he did not select Case Western it was a great example of a program that was flexible around my son's academic needs.  

A friend’s tounfer brother and a summer teammate of mine one year entered college as an engineering major. The team was coming off a CWS appearance. He left a Education/Phys Ed degree. He was pressured to change his major when he became the closer freshman year. He was sold he was a MLB prospect. I couldn’t see it. He had great stuff and great command. But in the words of Dennis Eckersley he was throwing salad.

He was not drafted. He went on to be a gym teacher and a high school basketball coach. I haven’t seen him in twenty years.. At that time he said he had no regrets changing his major. He enjoyed working with kids. But engineering major to phys ed is a hell of a change,

His story is the classic “no problem until we get you here and badger you with BS to change your major.”

Last edited by RJM

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