How Student Athletes Succeed in the Working World

Only an elite few of the most promising high school and college athletes make the transition from amateur to pro in sports. In fact, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) estimates that only 1 to 2 percent make it to the professional level. Moreover, even if they make it into a professional league, sports careers are typically short-term, a few years at most.

That said, student athletes may not end up in an athletic career, but competitive sports participation gives them a variety of skills that prepares them for any type of career. These skills have little to do with athletic prowess and everything to do with an athletic mindset. Here’s how it works.

The Mind of the Student Athlete

A survey conducted by the NCAA of 21,000 student athletes reveals some surprising facts. Researchers found that the typical student athlete prepares for or competes in sports more than 20 hours per week. More than 70 percent of those surveyed considered themselves more “athlete” than “student.” Student athletes balance sports activities with academic requirements, which often means missing out on extracurricular activities and coursework. Fortunately, participation in student athletics builds valuable transferrable skills that prepare athletes for a successful career. Here are a few examples of transferrable skills student athletes develop that make them great employees, managers, administrators and entrepreneurs:

  • Working in a team environment.
  • Staying mentally tough under pressure.
  • Ability to think outside the box.
  • A strong work ethic.
  • Self-motivated.
  • Enjoys a challenge.
  • Excels in time management.
  • Thrives on competition.

Student Athletes and Business: The Perfect Match

Business is a logical career choice for student athletes. Many of the same attributes cultivated by athletes are present in the most successful business executives. In fact, businesses increasingly look to former student athletes to fill vacant positions.

Because most college athletes began their sport at a very young age, they have learned how to bounce back after a loss and keep trying. They’ve learned how to be resilient, focus and eliminate unnecessary external influences. If they don’t succeed, they keep trying. Most athletes develop finely-tuned problem-solving skills and a willingness to take risks.

Because most student athletes compete with a team, they learn what their role is and how it benefits the group as a whole. They develop strong communication skills and don’t cave under constructive criticism. Student athletes have been listening to coaches all of their lives and are open to new ideas. They also realize that if they don’t sharpen their skills and work to improve, they’ll most likely end up on the bench.

In a Washington Post article dated January 2015, Marie Artim, vice president of talent acquisition at Enterprise Rent-A-Car said, “We see a lot of transferable skills in athletes.” Enterprise hires more entry-level graduates than any other U.S. company and recruits athletes because they know how to multitask and work on teams.

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Ford Sync 3: A Whole New Ballgame

Vehicle entertainment systems that let you listen to your favorite tune or radio station have remained decidedly low-tech. Attempts at updating  entertainment and navigation systems in vehicles with voice activation and swipe screens have been attempted since 2007 with limited success. According to Alex Perdikis at Koons Automotive, all of that is changing with Ford’s Sync 3, its newest and most innovative system. Sync 3 is available on select models now and will be included in all Ford and Lincolns by the end of 2016. By all accounts, it’s faster, better and chock full of standard and optional features.

Sync 3 is Full of Surprises

Previous versions of Sync used a Microsoft platform. Sync 3 is a completely new package using QNX, a platform owned by BlackBerry. QNX is the most widely used car entertainment operating system and its superiority shows. The result is a more up-to-date look, greater responsiveness and more intuitive features. Sync 3 uses a capacitive screen just like tablets and smartphones. The buttons are better placed, bigger and the system responds with a light touch. Swiping, pinching and zooming functions are easily performed and response time is phenomenal.

Plays Well With Others

Unlike its immediate predecessor, Sync 3 supports AppLink. Drivers with select smartphones can connect to Sync 3 with a USB cable and enjoy full use of Pandora, Spotify and other apps. If you have an iPhone with Siri, you can connect via Bluetooth and use the steering wheel voice button for hands-free queries. Sync 3 will automatically discover compatible apps on your smartphone. CarPlay and Android Auto are also supported.

A Smarter User- Friendly Interface

Along with crashes and glitches, the rap against programs like Sync has been that the interface is difficult and response times excruciatingly slow. Sync 3 boasts a much improved and easy-to-use interface. Brighter and easier to see, the new interface has a 3-window view with a tool tray on the bottom. The left window is for navigation, upper right for audio and lower right for phone. Voice commands are read accurately and smartly, with no need to match exact wording.

Safety First

Sync 3 has the ability to connect to a compatible cellphone for a no-charge feature called 911 Assist®. 911 Assist calls for help in case of accident even if you cannot make a call. Sync 3 also promotes safety because its features are hands-free, letting you concentrate on the road.

As new updates become available, Sync 3 automatically downloads and installs them through a home Wi-Fi connection.

Sync 3 is clearly a step above previous versions and outshines its competition. Its sleek interface, fast response time and application compatibility prove that Ford’s commitment to innovation is not an empty promise. If staying in touch, listening to music and accurate navigation are important to you, you don’t have to look any further than Ford’s Sync 3.