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How to Get the Perks of College Athletes When You’re Not on the Team

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OneClass Blog
13 Nov 2018
6 min read
Being a college athlete can have significant advantages. While there's fierce competition to get the coveted athletic scholarships, the paybacks can be plush. This list of college athlete benefits includes suggestions on how you can live more like a student athlete, even if you weren’t recruited.

1. Campus Note-takers

The UCLA athletics department provides professional note-takers for student athletes who may be recovering from an injury or have other qualified needs for assistance, such as ADHD. Having the extra classroom support can be a major academic advantage that helps athletes good grades during a busy semester. Non-athlete Alternative: Download class notes from OneClass. For students who don’t have the advantages of an athletic scholarship, the online note-sharing platform OneClass can give you access to shared class notes taken by a classmate sitting a few rows away. An Unlimited Subscription can cost as little as $9.98 per month; or, you can download notes by using site currency that’s earned from uploading your own class notes.

2. Free Gifts

College athletes often benefit from endorsement deals. For example, Adidas gave every UCLA basketball player 15+ pairs of shoes for the season. Gifts can also include a new PlayStation, Beats headphones, Bose speakers, or a flat-screen TV. “Most athletic departments in major conferences receive millions of dollars in free merchandise and cash annually,” said the Portland Business Journal. Non-athlete Alternative: Get a side hustle to pay for your swanky gear. With the extra money you earn from a side hustle, you can buy your own gadgets and gear. Driving for Uber can be a way to make fast cash on your own schedule, but the take-home could be between just $8.77 and $13.17 per hour after expenses. Tutoring can be a profitable side gig, and online tutors for Solvit can earn $20 per hour.

3. Free Tuition

Full-ride athletic scholarships are a big deal, but they’re competitive. Only 3 percent of college athletes receive academic aid. However, over four years, the average athletic scholarship totals $80,000. Non-athlete Alternative: Get an academic scholarship. Getting good grades could qualify you for additional scholarship opportunities, but you’ll have to hit the books and study hard. The latest figures from the NCES reveal that the average annual grant and scholarship awards total $11,810 per student, which could mean $47,240 toward your tuition over four years.

4. Easy Classes

There’s a notorious reputation of college athletes having access to easy classes. We’ve all heard about UNC’s "shadow curriculum" of about 200 lax classes for athletes that required no attendance and just one paper. At Stanford, a list of easy classes has been distributed to athletes by college advisors. Then, there’s the classic University of Georgia incident where basketball players took a class about basketball that included the following question: How many points is a 3-point shot worth? Non-athlete Alternative: Hack your schedule. Even without an athletics department behind you, you can hack your schedule to balance out hard classes with easier ones. For example, using flexible credits or electives to get a straightforward “A” can offset a lower grade in a more challenging course.

5. Private Chef

Unlimited food and snacks is frequently a perk of being a college athlete, and some schools use nutritionists to design special meals for their athletes. For example, University of Oregon athletes have a brunch station that runs until noon. The Wisconsin Student Athlete Dining Hall complex has dinners of prime rib and crab legs. Non-athlete alternative: Get take-out. Just because you’re not an athlete, that doesn’t mean you have to resort to the microwave. With a food delivery app, you can get the meal you want delivered right to your door. The late-night option on Grubhub can even help you figure out what’s open when many take-out spots have closed for the night.

6. Luxury Housing

High-end residence halls for athletes are a part of a new trend to attract players to college teams. For example, the newly built apartments at the University of Kansas include a small movie theater, a multi-purpose room for catered meals and tutoring, and plush lounging areas. At the University of Kentucky, the athletic dorm consists of a pool table, flat screen TVs, and a private chef. Non-athlete Alternative: Move off-campus. If your dorms are shabby, moving off campus might give you more bang for your buck. Depending on where you go to school, the cost of a student dorm could be the same as a downtown apartment with a balcony.

7. Free Tutoring

Many colleges offer student athletes a tutoring program. This help outside of the classroom can be essential to succeeding in class, especially for the 7 to 18 percent of college athletes in revenue sports who are reading at an elementary school level. Non-athlete alternative: Use the Solvit app for instant online tutoring. Academic help is available on-demand from apps such as Solvit. Within the online community, you can ask and answer questions in a wide range of subjects, including chemistry, economics, English, and calculus. There’s even an Express option for when you need answers fast. Learn how OneClass helps 90 percent of users improve by at least one letter grade. image attribution: Ljupco Smokovski -


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