Scholarship types - Athletic Scholarships

When it comes to athletic scholarships and college sports recruiting, it is important for you to become familiar with the rules and regulations surrounding the various college associations, conferences, and divisions. Violation of the rules, even while still in high school, can result in ineligibility in your future athletic career. Your first task should be to determine which associations (,, etc.) your prospective colleges and universities belong to, and then carefully review those groups' websites.

Need a plan of actions and advice? We have highlighted the important facts you should not neglect.

Be involved

Unless you are one of the top athletes in the country, chances are college coaches don't know who you are. This certainly doesn't mean you aren't a good athlete or aren't going to be recruited into college. It just means you have to be an active part of the process; you can't leave it up to the college coach to find you. You have already put in all the time training for your sport, now you need to put in the effort to showcase your talent. Below are a number of ways for you to do this.

Show interest

College coaches receive lots of mail everyday, and will only be impressed by individuals that stand out. Therefore, take the time to personalize your correspondence; it shows heightened interest and will translate to more attention. Do research and don't include questions easily answered by the school's website. For example, don't ask "I like biology. Does your school have that as a major?” but rather “I see your school has a major in biology, which is one of my favorite subjects. How have athletes on your team dealt with the time constraints involved with balancing biology coursework and athletics?" Open-ended questions like that will help initiate a more in-depth dialog with the college coach, while demonstrating your enthusiasm for the program.

Writing an email to the coach can be a hard thing to do if you are not used to writing to people you don’t know personally. Read on to find out what you should include in your mail.

Address the college coach

If you use a coach's email address to send him or her an email, we recommend that you:

  • do not contact coaches before the beginning of your junior year.
  • address the coach by name
  • use the name of the college or university when expressing your interest
  • include, in resume form, your complete name, postal address, area code and telephone number, email address, high school name with complete address, year of high school graduation, prospective college major field of study, your position(s) or event(s), your years of junior varsity and varsity experience, your relevant statistics, academic/athletic/community service awards and honors won, and your current coach's name and full contact information.
  • provide information about your GPA, ACT or SAT scores, and any honors, gifted, or AP courses you have taken or plan to take.
  • include a statement about the level at which your current coach believes you have the ability to compete (Division I, Division II, etc.). Even better, if your coach believes you can compete at the college or university in question, say so (but avoid sounding "cocky").
  • offer to provide complete statistics and film (if available).
  • offer to provide a schedule of your games or meets.
  • thank the coach for his or her consideration.
  • check your grammar and spelling carefully.
  • offer to provide recommendations and academic credentials.
  • save and send the email again if you have no response within a month.

Talk to your high school coach

Your high school coach probably has connections to local college athletic programs, and possibly some on the state or national level. Spend some quality one-on-one time with your coach to talk about what your goals are for continuing in your sport. Your coach may be able to suggest which direction you should consider, as well as what your coach feels is realistic for you.

Be realistic

about the colleges and universities you contact. Few athletes can compete in football at Oklahoma or basketball at Duke. Ask your coach to advise you about the level at which you can compete in athletics and your counselor to help you select colleges and universities which will be a good academic fit for you.

Go Road trip

If possible, visit your top choices of colleges and universities. Before you go, be sure to schedule an appointment with the coach for the time you will be visiting the school. While coaches are often looking for specific positions/talents, they are also looking for new members to join their team. Therefore, your personality and how you interact while visiting are definitely important characteristics they consider. During this trip, try to meet some of the current athletes and get a feel for what it is like to go there.

Use a college sports recruiting service

There is a large variety of different recruiting services for college athletes out there, both online and offline. EssayInfo recommends Athletes Advance as a free online college sports recruiting website. Athletes Advance has many features, listed below, that you should consider when picking any recruiting service:

Price: There are services that charge a fee and there are ones that are free. Be careful though, because more money doesn't always mean better quality. Determine beforehand exactly what you are getting for what you pay. If a service is free determine how they are making money. Be always careful while giving out your personal information. You can provide your private information only to the trusted services. Some websites just sell your information to the third parties.

Customized mailings: College coaches don't want to be mass-mailed a random collection of profiles and will throw these away without looking at them. Identify services that allow college coaches to specify criteria before being sent perspective athletes. This means offline ones that form personal partnerships between the service and coach, or online ones that have specific search forms designed for use by the college coaches. This way, the coaches only see those athletes they want, and are more likely to spend time actually examining the profiles they receive.

Detailed stats: The more college coaches know about who you are, the more of an informed decision they can make. Good sites offer the ability to enter your academic information and detailed game-by-game stats. From this, season averages are automatically calculated and displayed. This gives college coaches the ability to get an in-depth view of your athletic career to see how you perform beyond just your season totals.

High school coach: The person who knows your athletic background the best is your high school coach. A college coach can get a better idea of who you are through this perspective, which is some services include approval of stats and coach testimonials by your high school coach. It is very helpful to have the involvement of your high school coach throughout the recruiting process.

If you are interested in winning an athletic scholarship, go immediately to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) website and begin reading as fast as you can.

According to the NCAA, athletic scholarships for undergraduate student-athletes at Division I and Division II schools are partially funded through the NCAA membership revenue distribution. These scholarships are awarded directly by each academic institution and not the NCAA. About $1 billion in athletic scholarships are awarded each year. Over 126,000 student-athletes receive either a partial or full athletic scholarship. Division III schools offer only academic scholarships. They do not offer athletic scholarships. Don't count on athletic scholarships alone. Explore other sources of financial aid as well.

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