Next step for Zach Schmidt ’17: graduate studies in sports psychology

After he graduates from Ripon College on Sunday, Zach Schmidt ’17 of Plainfield, Illinois, will be heading to graduate studies in sports psychology at Adler University in Chicago.

“I chose Adler because it is school that has a unique opportunity that many other graduate programs do not have yet,” Schmidt says. “I am going for my master’s in counseling with specialization in sports psychology. Adler is one of few schools that offer a dual specialization in counseling and sports psychology. After I visited the campus, Adler University had that same small-school feel just like I felt at Ripon. I feel like I am getting the same small-school attention at Adler just like I have received here.”

At Ripon, Schmidt has been involved in cross country, track, Theta Chi, and being president of Interfraternity Council. “All gave me the confidence I needed to feel I can do more than I thought,” he says. “I never thought I would have been a president of a organization. Being heavily involved in these activities and organizations all pushed me to always do more. Even with my academics and the professors here, they all pushed me to do better and encouraged me to do more.”

He says attending Ripon College has influenced his life in many ways. “Ripon is one of the biggest reasons why I am able to go to graduate school,” he says. “Ripon helped me become an adult and become a responsible person as well as becoming my own person.

“The best part of attending Ripon College is the personal interaction from all the professors and staff. The professors have been nothing but great to me. For me, the psychology department has helped me also in tremendous ways, and they were always pushing me to do better. They are also a huge reason why I am going to graduate school. They helped me apply myself to my academics. Outside of the professors, the culture here is one you can’t get anywhere else. Sharon Jackson in the Student Activities Office, the hall directors, even the Commons workers all know me, call me by name, and know all my interests. All of them care about every student who is here. You can’t get that anywhere else.”

Schmidt has a self-designed major at Ripon, and says he ultimately would like to get involved with a sports organization as a counselor. “Sports and health have been a huge influence in my life, and I would love to be able to work with clients within that field,” he says. “I want all athletes as well as people who exercise to have the opportunity to mental services that may not always be available.”

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