There’s so much to get excited about when it comes to starting college. Making new friends, trying out new hobbies, living in a new city, indulging your academic interests … the list is endless. One thing that’s not so exciting, however, is the cost. Tuition fees in the US are among the highest in the world, and although student loans are available to help you cope with the upfront cost, they leave you saddled with debt as soon as you graduate.
One alternative is to try and land a scholarship. There are many types of scholarships available, with sports scholarships being among the most well-known. If you’re a student-athlete hoping to get one of these prestigious awards, here’s an overview of what you need to know.
What is a sports scholarship?
A sports scholarship, or athletic scholarship, is an award of financial aid. They help students cover the cost of college or university, and represent their school in their chosen sport while studying. These types of awards are available for a huge range of sports, from football, basketball and baseball to volleyball, tennis and wrestling. Most are given on a yearly basis, but some cover the complete duration of your studies (as long as you remain eligible). Unlike loans, they do not need to be paid back.
What does a sports scholarship cover?
This very much depends on the type of scholarship you get. The most generous scholarships are known as ‘full ride’ scholarships. These cover the full cost of tuition, room and board, books, plus sports-related clothing, equipment and travel. They don’t cover visas, travel from your home to university, entry exams or NCAA registration fees. Other scholarships are only partial, meaning they cover a portion of the total cost of college (for example tuition only, or a set amount of money towards it).
Who is eligible for a sports scholarship?
In order to be eligible for an athletic scholarship, you must usually meet certain requirements, both in terms of your sporting and academic ability. For example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association requires you to take certain core courses and maintain a minimum GPA. You also have to be an amateur athlete, not a professional. You will need coaching references, verified results and awards, plus for full scholarships you will need to be competing at a national or international level.
How do I get recruited for a sports scholarship?
The process for obtaining a sports scholarship for college can be a long and complicated one, with fierce competition. That’s why many student-athletes turn to companies such as asmscholarships.com for help and to maximize their chances of success.
Ideally, you should start preparing in your first year of high school, building a portfolio of results and video footage that you can show to recruiters. You’ll also want to build relationships with coaches at the colleges you like the look of. Student-athletes who are interested in Division I or II schools will need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, in order to be able to go on official school visits and receive scholarship offers.