Land an Athletic Scholarship

You’ve enrolled your student in their favorite sport. They seem to have a knack at it. How does that tie into their college future (other than first string)? An athletic scholarship may be the key to avoiding college financial debt.

Take a look at these 7 tips to find out if an athletic scholarship is right for your child:

athletic scholarship - basketball hoopStart early. The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) eligibility rules begin with 9th grade, so start considering the possibility when your student starts high school if not before.

Become familiar with the NCAA’s eligibility center and make sure your son or daughter stays eligible throughout their high school career.

Be realistic. The reality is that only about 2 percent of teen athletes receive full or partial athletic scholarships. The NCAA dictates how many scholarships a school can hand out.

Although the competition at a Division II institution might appear easier, NCAA rules set the number of scholarships even lower than Division I schools. Some sports offer better chances than others, too. Who are the athletes with the best chance of getting a scholarship? Women rowers.

Attract attention. If coaches haven’t noticed your student’s athletic accomplishments, take matters into your own hands and reach out to them during their sophomore or junior year of high school.

Consider making a website to show off their athletic ability, too. Include video clips, coach recommendations and upcoming tournament appearances.

Ask for help. Keep getting advice. Talk to your student’s guidance counselor and coach, and arrange a time to sit down with a College Funding Advisor so you can set realistic expectations and goals.

Find the best fit. Even if your teen isn’t the best player on the team, in the league or in the state, he or she still has a chance to play spots in college – just not at a Pac-12 or Big 10 school. Another option to consider is Division III schools.

They can’t award athletic scholarships, but many offer financial aid and merit money to students that happen to be good athletes as well.

Keep your focus. Make sure your focus remains on paying for college, not turning your student into the next athletic superstar.

Athletic scholarships generally aren’t as generous as other awards he or she might be able to get from other schools, so when you consider schools look for those that might provide other financial assistance.

Be persistent. Even if your student doesn’t get an athletic scholarship their first year, they might have a shot at one for the following year. A lot of schools allow walk-ons, which is another way your teen can prove their worth to a coach.

Learn how Westface College Planning can help you navigate the college planning process from start to finish. Give us a call at 650-587-1559 or use our contact form. Our workshops and webinars are also a great place to start.

Photo Credit: Jonas Tana