How Athletic Scholarships Work

Athletic scholarships are some of the most desirable of all college scholarships.

Flickr user Steve Allen

Athletic scholarships are some of the most desirable college scholarships. Athletes who play any sport at any level dream of getting an athletic scholarship. However, it is not easy. Just being good enough in a sport is simply not enough to get a scholarship. The competition is incredibly high for athletic scholarships from the few colleges that offer it. You really have to work hard, harder than you would imagine, to get any financial aid under this category.

Learning all you can about how athletic scholarships work and their eligibility criteria, will help boost your chances of getting one.

The Most Basic Requirement For Receiving An Athletic Scholarship

The very first basic requirement is that you need to excel in a sport that awards financial aid for college. Some of the sports included in this category are soccer, basketball, sailing, football, fencing, tennis, cross country, wrestling, golf, volleyball, and skiing.

Your Academic Scores Are Important Too

You cannot afford to ignore your academics because you excel in a sport and know that you meet the athletic scholarship requirements. Even if you are aiming to get financial aid based on your athletic prowess, you still need to put in enough study time to get high scores. Students involved in extracurricular activities (such as a sport) with good grades are given preference when it comes to disbursing financial aid.

Putting Together An Athletic Portfolio Is Important

The best way to show off your skills to colleges is by submitting your athletic portfolio. This should include the following:

  • A brief summary of the positions you’ve played in and the number of years you played in each position
  • Any athletic awards you’ve won in that sport
  • Snapshots or clippings from school newsletters or newspapers highlighting some of your best moments or accomplishments in that sport
  • Recommendation letters from your coaches
  • A short video clip of you in action

Some colleges may ask you to also submit a highlight reel.

Athletic Scholarships Are Awarded For One Year At A Time

If you plan to apply for an athletic scholarship, it is important to know right at the outset that this particular type of scholarship works on a year-by-year basis. If you meet all the criteria at the time of applying to a college, you will be awarded financial aid for the first year only.

For every successive year that you are in school, the college coach will decide whether to renew your offer or whether to reduce or even remove it. This decision will mainly depend on how you performed during the previous year. If you are badly injured and unable to play the following year, that could be factored into the decision too. You can appeal the ruling but you would need a really convincing reason for the authorities to overturn their decision.

If this is the route you’ve decided to take to get financial aid for college, you must take time to find out all the rules and regulations, as well as the athletic and academic requirements for each school that you wish to apply to. Speaking to the coaches of each college can also help you make a more informed decision about the best way to proceed.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

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