Coming to Terms: Career Development Experiences of NCAA Division I Female Student-Athletes in Transition Open Access
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Transitions are defined as "any event or non-event that results in changed relationships, routines, assumptions, and roles" (Goodman, Schlossberg, & Anderson, 2006, p. 33). A particular transition unique to student-athletes in comparison to other college students is the end of their collegiate athletic eligibility. The purpose of this study is to understand how female student-athletes competing in NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletic programs perceive their preparedness for post-collegiate careers as they undergo transitions. Using basic interpretive qualitative research methods and interview protocol developed from Schlossberg's theory of transition, 20 female participants in NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports were asked to describe the situation surrounding the end of their collegiate sports career and their post-competition plans, the support they received to prepare for careers, the strategies they used to prepare, and their own self-assessment of their transition (Schlossberg, 1981; Goodman, Schlossberg and Anderson, 2006). The words and descriptions the participants attributed to their own experiences of transition and career development provided insight into this phenomenon. Participants reported having sufficient resources at their institutions to be prepared for their lives post-competition, but because of their schedule demands, lacked experience they felt necessary to gain entry into their chosen professions. The lack of experiential learning opportunities and unfamiliarity with student services outside of athletic contributed to their feelings of inadequate preparation. Implications for this research are to help student affairs practitioners, athletic administrators, faculty, and coaches better understand the areas that impede student-athlete career development.