What It's Like To Transfer From The Division 2 To NAIA Level
Karah Atkins, a recent graduate of Florida Memorial University, had the opportunity to play college softball at two different schools and two different divisions.
She attended high school in Homestead, Fla., and during her high school career, she committed to play college softball at Bowie State University, a Division 2 program in Bowie, Md.
Atkins spent two seasons at Bowie State as an infielder before transferring to Florida Memorial University, an NAIA program in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Softball America had the chance to speak with Atkins about her transfer process, college softball experience and more. Read the full interview below.
Softball America: What was it like to play college softball at two different divisions?
Karah Atkins: Being able to play at two different divisions, I was grateful to be able to learn and adjust to different work ethics. Along the road, I had the opportunity to get feedback from coaches and gain new knowledge of the game. No matter where I was, I was able to build connections and lifelong friends.
SA: What adjustments did you have to make after transferring?
KA: Being at a new school in a different state, I had to get used to being in a new setting. I had to make a cultural adjustment. Before I transferred to Florida Memorial University, I attended Bowie State University, which is an HBCU. At Florida Memorial University, it was more diverse. I also had to adjust to the school size, as Florida Memorial University is a bit smaller than my previous university. And being that NAIA can offer more scholarships compared to Division 2, that meant the team roster can have up to 30 players, while Division 2 (rosters) usually carry about 20 to 25 players.
SA: What are the similarities and differences between the Division 2 level of college softball and the NAIA level?
KA: There are some similarities and differences between Division 2 and NAIA. The (biggest) differences are the rules and regulations and school and team sizes. Besides that, the players are similar and have one goal, which is to play the game we all fell in love with.
SA: What was the recruiting process like in the transfer portal compared to high school recruiting?
KA: In the transfer portal, it was nerve-racking at first, but when I started the process, it was smooth. While I was in the transfer portal, coaches got in contact with me (easily). I knew I wasn’t going to be as stressed trying to get into a school that would be suited for me.
In high school, the recruiting process was difficult due to constantly emailing coaches, making sure to play at the big tournaments and playing for the right travel ball team.
SA: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to transfer?
KA: I would say to make sure you physically visit a school and meet the coaches and players (before committing). You should get a certain feel so you can be comfortable (there). Don’t just make a quick decision. I would recommend sitting down and talking to your family members to get their insights. Just know the decision you make can affect your future, and do what makes you happy.