A college choice is a fundamental and life-influencing decision. High school graduates have to consider so many details like college majors, extracurricular activities, clubs and communities, campus, accommodation, just to name a few.

Students who see their future in professional sport have even bigger concerns.

They need to be sure that the college they pick can unleash their potential and provide necessary conditions for athletic growth, development, and blossom.

If you are considering to stay in – or to move to – Philadelphia county, we’ve narrowed down the list to the five best universities for student-athletes.

Temple University

Founded as a night school for students with limited means, Temple University has grown into one of the best US research universities with over 40 thousand undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students.

It gets into Philadelphia Big 5 in basketball and is one of the best higher schools for students who want to build a career in sport. It features 19 Division I sports teams both in men’s and women’s leagues, including football, virtual golf, soccer, tennis, fencing, lacrosse, gymnastics, field hockey among others. The Temple Owls are one of the fiercest and most powerful teams in Philly, and they have won eight National Championships, both athletically and academically.

The owl is considered the symbol of resourcefulness and courage, and at the games, you can spot a beautiful 2-feet-tall horned owl named Stella along with the official Temple’s mascot, Hooter. For this alone, the Temple University is worth being given a chance.

Drexel University

Founded in 1891, Drexel University has evolved into a global research university with a unique experiential learning program. Today, it features three Philadelphia campuses and the oldest museum of natural science in the USA – the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Along with being one of the best online degree programs provider, they take pride in their international research partnerships with China and Israel.

Professional sport and physical activities are an important part of the university’s culture. As fierce Drexel Dragons, the school features 18 athletic teams with around half-thousand students competing in basketball, lacrosse, rowing, squash, soccer, and swimming and diving, to name a few.

There is a number of recreational facilities available both for professional student-athletes or for their classmates who just seek to stay active. The university offers 2 beach volleyball courts, 2 tennis courts, a soccer field, and a huge training facility with an elevated jogging track, a climbing wall, exercise studios, whatnot.

However, the home of Drexel Dragons is John A. Daskalakis Athletic Center where you can find a swimming pool, 5 squash courts, a golf center, and a large gym to stay in shape and keep up with your athletic goals.

Saint Joseph’s University

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Founded in 1851, Saint Joseph’s University is a private and the seventh oldest Jesuit university in the USA. Annually, it educates over 9 thousand undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students in a variety of fields, including Business, Arts and Sciences, and Liberal Studies. In total, it offers over 110-degree programs, 28 study-abroad programs, and another 12 special-study options.

But most importantly, it is a home for Saint Joseph’s Hawks, most famous for their men’s basketball team that opened NBA doors to 29 different players. The team has been a 7-time Atlantic-10 regular-season title winner and a 3-time A-10 tournament champion, so if you are a man looking to skyrocket his basketball career, this is the place to be.

However, there are much more opportunities to grow as an athlete there. The University SJU also hosts both men’s and women’s teams in lacrosse, soccer, tennis, baseball, cross country, and rowing, and its alumni competed among Olympians.

And if you want some fun activity outside professional college sport, there are plenty of fitness groups and recreation events to train, chill out and make friends.

La Salle University

The major basketball rival of Saint Joseph’s Hawks, La Salle University is also a private Catholic university with a great athletic history. The two-time national champions in basketball and field hockey, they are also the Alma mater of four gold medal and two bronze medal Olympic winners.

While the men’s basketball team is what the Explorers are famous for, students can also join the teams in cross country, tennis, water polo, swimming and diving, and soccer among others. They also have a women’s golf team.

Impossible to ignore their impressive list of co-recreational clubs, including equestrian and taekwondo activities.

“Their application process was a nightmare. To get me here, I had to hire a paper writing service to write my college admissions essay,” – says a second-year student Kate Browns. “But if you see yourself in female golf, MMA or horseracing, La Salle University is the best option in Philadelphia so far.”

The University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is 12 schools harmoniously connected into a picturesque campus with expansive green zones, recreational spaces, and marvelous architecture. It is a 1-billion-dollar research budget. It is 20 thousand undergraduate, graduate, and professional students per year.

And it is also a home for Penn Quakers. With 33 varsity sports, the athletes of the University of Pennsylvania compete in baseball, basketball, cross country, rowing, soccer, football, lacrosse, squash, tennis, and many other kinds of sports. They are proud winners of four NCAA team national championships – all for fencing, so if you are considering a professional career in this kind of sport, Penn is your choice.

The University deeply cares about the health and fitness of its students and offers a variety of recreational activities and sports clubs. When you need to distract from games and tournaments, you can visit yoga classes, fitness workouts, aikido club, go for figure skating, or have fun playing Ping-Pong. And in your free time, you can chillax on a massage table to make your muscles ready for the next jerk.

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