How to Score Athletic Scholarships
Do Your ResearchThe National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has different rules and levels of scholarships. Currently, only Division I and Division II schools can offer athletic scholarships, and only 637 U.S. colleges play within these divisions. If you play for a Division III school, you can only earn academic or other non-athletic scholarships. Each year, the NCAA awards more than $2.7 billion in athletic scholarships, but it’s not the only player on the field. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) also provides scholarships through colleges that play within its league. Each participating sport has a limited number of scholarships, which may be offered as full or partial awards. There are nearly 300 colleges in the NAIA awarding more than $450 million in scholarships. If you plan to attend a junior or community college, you may also receive athletic scholarships from Division I and Division II National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) schools.
Make ConnectionsAlthough college coaches cannot actively recruit until the summer before your senior year, this doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for them to call you. Only one percent of high school athletes are actually ‘discovered,’ so it’s up to you to introduce yourself. Here are some ways you can self-recruit.
- Send introduction letters or emails
- Call and ask questions
- Have your high school coach reach out by email or phone
- Try using a free recruitment tool, like BeRecruited.
Promote YourselfBefore you self promote, be sure to clean up your image. You want to impress coaches, so use a professional email address and make sure your online presence is spotless. You’ll want to take down any questionable photos on your Instagram account or Facebook page, and make sure you’re only tweeting positive messages. Posts about obsessive partying or lack of interest in school may came back to haunt you. Many colleges have strict social media policies, especially for student athletes, so start practicing good social media etiquette ASAP! Next, try these methods to get your name out there.
- Create a quality highlight video and send it out to coaches
- Set up a YouTube account and post clips from your games
- Host a blog and chronicle your athletic journey