i cant sub 5 :( wrote:
I ran 4:34/9:34 my junior track season and am now trying to figure out colleges. I know it depends somewhat on the person, but in general, would I be able to develop as an athlete more at a top-20 D3 school or a mid-major D1 school? I am currently talking to coaches from both types of schools. All have good academics, so that isn't a problem either.
gonna give you a perspective from someone who just made the decision and now regrets it. I picked a mid major D1 and had similar HS times (barely sub 4:30 1600, a few seconds slower in the 3200 albeit as a senior). my academics were much better than my athletics, and I assume yours are as well, given you're talking to top 20 D3 programs. I've been on campus for less than 2 months and I absolutely cannot stand the total lack of academic challenge or rigor. because of my AP/dual enrollment credit, I'm basically taking my sophomore year credits and it still feels like a junior college. along with that, the program is run more disorganized and unprofessionally than my high school team. keep in mind that a nationally competitive D3 team will probably be a better experience than one where the AD doesn't care about you because you finish 5th at conference every year. I'm actually considering transferring after a semester to an academically strong D3. always remember that running is temporary, and the type of education you get has much more lasting impacts. and while I'm glad I scratched the "D1 itch" by running here for a semester, realistically I'm never going to be a national competitor given my relative lack of talent. it's not worth it to do 4 years of running in mid pack obscurity so you can say you're a D1 athlete while potentially sacrificing a better education, or at least that's my opinion. so keep that in mind if you're like me and in that good, not great zone. if the D1s have good academics, then sure it can be fine. but some of them can be much worse than they appear. at the end of the day, wherever fits, fits. just don't be thrown off by division.
TLDR: make academics your #1 priority in the search. please. don't make my mistake.