Andrew Haldeman, a 2020 graduate of Saint John’s University, was a senior nutrition major and exercise science and sports studies minor from St. Paul, Minnesota, who has been involved in the pre-athletic training program at the College of Saint Benedict and SJU.
Why study pre-athletic training at a liberal arts college?
I think that studying pre-athletic training at a liberal arts college allows you to be just as prepared, if not more so, than your peers who are not pursuing liberal arts degrees. The advantage to having a liberal arts degree when going into any post graduate program is the amount of knowledge outside of your own field that you gain. When it comes to the medical field and athletic training, having this excess of knowledge allows you to approach problems and ideas from many different angles. Being able to understand all of the different aspects that go into an injury and the recovery process, beyond the rehab, is important to being able to being able to provide comprehensive care for your athletes.
What makes the pre-athletic training program at CSB/SJU unique?
The pre-athletic training program at CSB/SJU is unique due to how self-guided it is. The current setup allows you to form your own path, with the support of your advisers. I was able to study nutrition, which for the most part, did not contribute to the requirements of my athletic training graduate program, but was a field of interest for me. By being able to branch out and study a field that interests you while simultaneously following the pre-athletic training track allows you to increase the breadth of knowledge you are taking into the field. I will be able to use my nutrition degree in conjunction with my athletic training degree in the future to help athletes recover to the best of their abilities.
What has your experience with the CSB/SJU pre-athletic training program faculty been like?
Not enough good things can be said about the support I received from my advisers and other faculty on campus in pursuit of the pre-athletic training track. The advisers I worked with were extremely knowledgeable in helping me graduate in four years, with my major, minor and all pre-requisites needed to be accepted into a graduate program. I was able to create a four-year plan very early in my college career and follow that plan successfully all the way through my time at CSB/SJU.
How would you describe the workload and/or academic expectations related to this pre-professional track?
The workload and academic expectations of the pre-athletic training track are demanding, but manageable. As with any program in the medical field, there are a large number of science courses, in multiple disciplines that graduate programs want you to have taken during your time as an undergraduate student. With that being said, the workload is very manageable. I was able to successfully get everything done in four years while also playing a college sport.
What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced in college?
Some of the greatest challenges that I faced in school were the struggles of balancing all the coursework I had on my plate with the experiences that everyone wants to have in college. I found that there were times where I had to sacrifice evenings of hanging out with friends to be in the library and write a paper or finish a project. Learning to balance the social aspects of college with the academic side of it, along with athletics, is a challenge that many people have to figure out, but everyone gets it eventually.
What advice do you have for students considering the pre-athletic training program?
If you are considering the pre-athletic training track, I suggest doing some research on all of the responsibilities an athletic trainer has, and what the requirements are in terms of time commitment. Along with that, try to do some shadowing of athletic trainers and pick their brains about the misconceptions that exist about the athletic training career field. If possible, apply to work in the CSB or SJU Athletic Training rooms as an SMA to gain extra experience.
What are your plans for after you graduate from CSB/SJU, and what are plans after graduate school?
I will be attending graduate school at South Dakota State University for a masters in Athletic Training. After I complete my masters program, I hope to find a position in a college of professional setting as an AT.