Athletic scholarships are a form of financial aid offered to student-athletes who have demonstrated exceptional athletic ability in a particular sport. These scholarships are awarded by colleges and universities in the United States to attract talented athletes to their athletic programs. Athletic scholarships can cover the cost of tuition, room and board, and other expenses associated with attending college. In this article, we will discuss the different types of athletic scholarships, eligibility requirements, how to apply for athletic scholarships, and the pros and cons of receiving an athletic scholarship.
Types Of Athletic Scholarships
There are three types of athletic scholarships: full scholarships, partial scholarships, and walk-on scholarships. Full scholarships cover the entire cost of tuition, room and board, and other expenses associated with attending college. Partial scholarships cover only a portion of these costs. Walk-on scholarships are typically awarded to student-athletes who did not receive a scholarship initially but have the opportunity to earn one through their performance on the team.
To be eligible for an athletic scholarship, student-athletes must meet certain academic and athletic requirements set by the college or university. Academic requirements typically include a minimum GPA and standardized test scores. Athletic requirements can vary depending on the sport and the level of competition. Additionally, student-athletes must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center to ensure they meet all NCAA eligibility requirements.
How To Get Athletic Scholarships In Five Steps
For high school athletes, the dream of playing their sport at the college level is a common one. However, the path to achieving this goal can be long and complicated. One of the biggest hurdles is securing an athletic scholarship to help pay for college. The below five steps will help increase your chances of getting an athletic scholarship. From understanding which division level is best for you to evaluating your scholarship offers, these steps will guide you through the recruiting process and help you achieve your dreams of playing your sport at the college level.
Step 1: Understand what Division level best matches your skill set, then start researching colleges
The first step towards securing an athletic scholarship is to understand which division level is best for you. NCAA Division I athletics are highly competitive, and only a select few athletes compete at D-I schools. To better understand where you fall, get evaluated by a third-party, or attend camps that attract other college-bound athletes to see how you compare.
After you’ve gained a better understanding of the division levels that are right for you, start researching schools you’re interested in. Consider a school’s location, academics, athletics, and culture as you’re creating your college list.
Step 2: Gather all the information you need
Before you start reaching out to college coaches, compile the following information into an athletic resume:
- Highlight or skills video (if one is required for your sport)
- Athletic stats
- Academic transcripts
- ACT scores, SAT scores, (or both!), if you’ve taken them
From there, research and put together the numbers and email addresses of the head coaches, assistant coaches, and recruiting coordinators on your initial list of best fit schools.
Step 3: Start communicating with college coaches
Begin your outreach by emailing coaches. Make sure your email includes all the information in your athletic resume, especially a link to your highlight and/or skills video. This way, the coach can conduct an initial evaluation by watching your film. Your subject line should have your name, your position, your current grade level, and a key stat, for example “John Doe, High School Sophomore, Pitcher, 90 MPH fastball.”
Avoid creating a mass email including every coach’s contact information on it. Instead, individually craft each email and, if possible, specifically state why you’re interested in that program. After about two weeks, call the coach to express interest in their program. Make sure you plan ahead so you know what to say if the coach picks up the phone—or if you are sent to their voicemail.
Step 4: Manage your college recruiting process
As you’re reaching out and developing relationships with coaches at different schools, there are a few key actions you should be taking to keep your recruiting process moving forward:
- Keep checking your eligibility
- Attend camps and combines
- Go on campus visits
- Send coaches your updated video and stats
Step 5: Evaluate your athletic scholarship offers
By this point in the recruiting process, you’re getting ready to lock down your offer and negotiate your scholarship amount. To get your best offer, compare the financial aid packages available at each of the schools that have extended you an offer. Make sure you don’t discount other types of scholarships as you’re making your final decision.
Pros and Cons of Athletic Scholarships
Receiving an athletic scholarship can provide financial support for college and the opportunity to play at higher levels of competition. However, it also comes with high pressure and a significant time commitment. Student-athletes must balance their academic and athletic responsibilities, which can be challenging.
In conclusion, securing an athletic scholarship requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment. By following these five steps, you can increase your chances of getting noticed by college coaches and securing an athletic scholarship to play your sport at the next level. Remember to stay focused, work hard, and never give up on your dreams.