Division III schools have the largest group of athletes of all three divisions in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). While many athletes prefer the rigor and sportsmanship of division I or II colleges, division III schools gain athletes committed to the sport and academics. Specifically, division III schools in Indiana give a variety of sports for males and females. Your preference for a varsity team sport will determine the type of division III school for your academics.

Principles of Division Three Schools

Many rules and regulations vary among the division III colleges by state. Division III schools will display the NCAA affiliation from the association. While the division III colleges by state categorize sports based on type, gender and school size, you will find that many colleges have small student populations.

Perhaps an advantage of a lower class size compared to other division colleges is the student to teacher ratios. Many schools have approximately ten to one ratios, indicating the ideal class size for students seeking unique learning experiences. So many division III schools promote the class size for a small campus to attract dedicated athletes to liberal arts programs.

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Potential students interested in division III colleges prefer a low student population, so student life is manageable. For undergraduate athletes entering as freshmen, academics and sports are equally important. Students want the opportunity to manage both with flexibility.

Division III Schools in Indiana

Remarkably, the predominant division III schools in Indiana show all the characteristics that undergraduate athletes look for in liberal arts colleges. First, Earlham College, located in Richmond, ranks 81 on the list of best colleges in liberal arts. Founded in 1847 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the college has a distinguished Earlham College Quakers varsity team. This team competes in the division III Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Like many division III schools in Indiana, Earlham has a student population of 1,060 students.

Next, Franklin College, established in 1834 and located in Franklin, currently ranks 143 as a national liberal arts college. The Franklin College athletic department focuses on sports like basketball, bowling, volleyball and flag football. Besides competing in the NCAA Heartland Conference, the varsity sports team is part of the Grizzlies.

Hanover College, located in Hanover, ranks 113 as one of the division III schools in Indiana. Like other division III colleges, Hanover College has a low student to teacher ratio of 13 to one with more than 60 percent of enrolled students competing in the NCAA division III athletics. Hanover College has 1,089 students on campus.

Ranking at 26, the rural school of Manchester College is a quaint institution with a small student population of 1,600 students. Established in 1889, Manchester College has had an affiliation with the Church of Brethren since 1895.

For instance, Wabash College, situated in Crawfordsville, ranks 56 and has a student male population of 842 students. Proudly known as the Little Giants, athletes compete in the NCAA division III and the North Coast Athletic Conference. The athletic program consists of baseball, basketball, tennis, cross country, lacrosse, track and field, golf, football, swimming and diving, soccer and wrestling.

Another gender-specific school is Saint Mary’s College. Located at the center of Notre Dame's higher education district, Saint Mary’s College is mostly all female students. This institution ranks at 95 as a liberal arts college. The Sisters of the Holy Cross sponsored the college in 1844. Saint Mary’s proudly shows the Catholicism affiliation and classes of 18 students, where students can focus on athletics and academics. Whichever school you prefer in Indiana, many of the division III colleges consist of a small student population and low student to teacher ratio.

While many student-athletes easily find information about scholarships based on division I or II, financial options differ for division III colleges by state. They do not offer athletic scholarships. Many colleges offer competitive scholarships and federal financial aid. Most students tend to seek student loans or sponsorships. Unlike other divisions of sport, division III school and class sizes outweigh the disadvantages of financial support.

About the Author

Barbara earned a B. S. in Biochemistry and Chemistry from the Univ. of Houston and the Univ. of Central Florida, respectively. Besides working as a chemist for the pharmaceutical and water industry, she pursued her degree in secondary science teaching. Barbara now writes and researches educational content for blogs and higher-ed sites.