Earning a sports scholarship is not easy. A lot of athletes find themselves asking how to get an athletic scholarship. The bottom line is if you have the right team working with you it is a very achievable goal. Training with an Olympic athlete can help you achieve that goal.
Since a main focus of our mission is to advance funds for athletic scholarships, it is also important to know what the process looks like and how be a coveted candidate when you apply. There are multiple resources out there, including ours, so once you select your level of need and choice college, you have to vigorously market yourself to university coaches and others throughout the entire application and recruitment process.
Not everyone fully understands the process of finding and applying for these types of financial aid and it can be challenging to find neutral opinions on the subject. It can definitely frustrate families trying to find these resources so we have put together an objective and detailed list of some tips and advice for finding athletic grants like ours.
Know Your Options
An important first step in this process is to understand what your options are. Many people think that getting a full ride as an athlete is the apex of this process, but in reality this is not the rule, but the exception. There are few division levels and sports that provide this kind of relief while the rest offer only partial assistance.
You also need to have an honest conversation with your coach about the specifics of your agreement and the details of what happens over the course of your college career. For example, some packages need to be renewed annually and are not guaranteed for all four years. You also need to consider the following hypothetical situations:
What are my options if I am injured during a game or can no longer play?
What kind of academic support will I receive while in school to keep up my grades?
Who else on the staff can I go to for advice or support and should I expect any coaching staff turnovers while in school?
You will most likely have your own individual questions, but these are some good starting points to get the conversation going and to focus your research efforts. These may determine which schools you choose or which financial package you accept.
Narrow Your Focus to a Few Choice Programs
There are over a thousand college athletic programs and about forty times as many college coaches, so there are an overwhelming amount of options out there for you and your family to consider. This means you need to be proactive every step of the way and you need to narrow that focus to your top choices. That does not mean you need to only choose NCAA Division I schools, but instead you need to choose the few choice programs that make sense to you as a student, community member, and athlete.
Likewise, colleges have a huge pool of athletic candidates to pick from and to offer resources to. If you narrow your choice program down, you can spend more time honing in on what that specific program looks for and you can concentrate on what you need to do to be selected. It is much easier to do this for three universities than it would be for twenty. Remember, it is about quality and not quantity.
Expand Your Visibility to Coaches
You need to get your potential future coach’s attention and you need to do it soon, the earlier the better. It is not enough to assume that recruiters know who you are or what you can do, you need to aggressively reach out to them, respectfully of course. The only way you can be recruited is if you are visible and known by the team doing the selection.
Some ideas to consider are sending periodic emails with highlights of a recent win or stories done about you or your team. Try to not be too overenthusiastic, as this will most likely get you sent to a spam folder. You can also take the time to learn about the coach or coaching staff member you are reaching out to and adding a personal touch, like a congratulations on a championship win or a handwritten holiday card. This will really help you stand out from the crowd and show that you care about making a connection that is mutually beneficial and not just helpful to you.
When you think of athletic scholarship, most people only concentrate on the first word and do not always give enough time and energy to the second one. Academic success is a huge factor in qualifying and being selected for these types of aid. It doesn’t matter how fast you can run, how far you can throw, or how many points you can score if you don’t have a quality GPA and standardized test scores to add to it. The NCAA has strict criteria that all college athletes need to meet and this is a trait coach’s focus on when searching for new talent.
However, even if you do not meet the criteria for a full ride, it does not necessarily mean you never will receive any type of grant or aid. This would just mean you would have to adjust your post-high school plans accordingly. It could take some time to increase your academics enough to qualify, so the easiest and fastest route is to stay focused through your time in school.
These are just a few bits of helpful advice to guide you in the complex college athletics landscape.