Sports Scholarship in the US: Over 2,000 colleges and universities offer sports scholarships to students in the US. Needless to say, receiving an athletic scholarship to participate in their favorite sports at a college level is perhaps the ultimate aim for many student-athletes.
If you have been working hard to get a sports scholarship, this article can guide you through the process. We have included the steps you need to follow as well as some tips that you need to bear in mind when applying for a sports scholarship.
Be an Early Bird
Many students make the mistake of waiting until they are in the senior year of high school to start considering colleges and scholarships. However, by then, many college coaches would have already signed players to their teams.
In other words, the earlier you get started, the better chances you get. Moreover, if there are any obstacles that could hinder your path to a scholarship, this will also give you some time to sort things out. Moreover, remember that every five to ten years, the conditions for the award of scholarships can vary significantly. Therefore, it is crucial to be updated about what is expected of you and start preparing accordingly.
Understand the Requirements
Experts suggest that students should start as early as freshman year when preparing to apply for sports scholarships. The first step is to research the NCAA and NAIA eligibility requirements. By doing this, you can be sure that you are taking the right high school courses for eligibility and have the required GPA.
For instance, if grades are an issue, you should consider “how can I write my term paper on WritePaper.com” more effectively. There are several academic platforms that can help you improve your essay writing skills and achieve better grades. Secondly, if you have any athletic weaknesses, starting early will also give you the opportunity to address them.
Get Professional Assessment
Undoubtedly, your local coach might be an expert resource who can indeed guide you along the process. However, ultimately, your coach will not be the best person to assess you, especially if they do not have sufficient experience with college-level athletes. Moreover, their opinion might also be influenced after working with you.
This is why we would recommend you get your sports assessment done by a professional. This can help you learn valuable pieces of information, such as:
- What your chances are of getting a scholarship;
- What are your strengths and weaknesses are;
- Which type and division of scholarship should you apply for.
Based on the professional coach’s input, you can formulate a plan to achieve your goal.
Start Playing Outside Highschool
If you haven’t considered any sports opportunities outside high school, your sophomore year would be the right time to get started on that. You can volunteer as a counselor at a camp, teach sports lessons, or even take part in non-athletic extracurriculars to showcase your leadership abilities.
You can also consider starting to play for a local club, which coaches would appreciate since you will be training year-round.
Prepare your Resume and CV
There is a popular misconception that all you need to do is to be good at sports in order to be handpicked for a scholarship in college. In reality, you will also have to reach out to coaches and show them that you can be a valuable addition to their team.
Of course, before you can contact any coaches, you will need to prepare a recruiting packet.
- Your resume that includes your athletic accomplishments;
- A cover letter (more than one) tailored to each coach you want to contact;
- Unofficial transcript of your grades;
- Highlight videos of your performance in games/events.
Out of this, the highlights could be the most tricky part since you need somebody to record you at games. Make sure you have good-quality videos before submitting. You could also hire a professional service that has experience putting together recurring highlight videos for students.
Make a List of the Schools you Want to Apply to
As we noted earlier, there are thousands of colleges in the US that welcome student-athletes. You cannot apply to them all. Once you are clear about which division you are aiming for, you can make a list of the schools that offer good programs in your chosen sports.
With the abundant online resources, it shouldn’t be an issue collecting the details of colleges these days. To make the decision easier, you can look at the following factors:
- The reputation of the school;
- Location of the school;
- The costs involved (not every scholarship covers your entire tuition and other living costs);
- Whether the college offers your chosen major;
- The average SAT scores of students accepted into the college.
It is crucial to remember that even if a coach offers you a scholarship, it is ultimately up to the college to decide whether you will be accepted or not. For instance, if your grades are poor, then you might lose the chance of the scholarship altogether. This is why it is important to be aware of the requirements and prepare beforehand.
Reach Out to Coaches
When you have shortlisted the college you want to apply to, it is time to start contacting the coaches. You can do this by finding the contact information on college websites.
You can send your recruiting packet, making sure that you have attached a tailored cover letter describing why you are choosing that specific school and the particular team.
There are now specific periods when coaches are allowed to reach out to you, which is musically the senior year. However, they can also contact you via your local coach or even a recruiting agency. Therefore, it might be a good idea to include the contact information of your coach or the agency you are using in your cover letter.
Once you start receiving offers, you might be able to negotiate a better scholarship. When you have found the most satisfactory offer, you can sign the letter of intent, which is a legally binding contract saying that you will attend a respective college in exchange for a sports scholarship. When the letter is signed, the recruitment process will be complete.