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An athletic scholarship is a form of financial aid that colleges and universities offer to high school athletes. These scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional talent in a particular sport and meet the academic requirements of the institution. Athletic scholarships can be partial or full scholarships, and they may cover tuition, room and board, and other expenses.
Though some may view college athletics as a frivolous extracurricular activity, there are many reasons why student-athletes should consider applying for a sports scholarship. In addition to the obvious benefit of receiving financial assistance for school, student-athletes also gain valuable experience in leadership, time management, and teamwork. These skills can be extremely beneficial in their future careers. Participation in college athletics can also help students to build relationships with faculty and staff members outside of the classroom, potentially opening doors to internships and other opportunities. For student-athletes who are dedicated to their sport, a scholarship can provide the opportunity to compete at the highest level and develop their skills on a wider stage. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to apply for a sports scholarship is a personal one, but there are many compelling reasons why student-athletes should give it serious consideration.
Athletic scholarships are available for several sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, ice hockey, and golf. Here is a more comprehensive overview of five such scholarships.
Irv Noll Memorial Scholarship Fund: If you’re a Pennsylvania high school senior who has played golf, basketball, or baseball for your school for at least two years and will continue playing in college, then this scholarship is for you. This annual one-time award of $400 is from Berks County Community Foundation. To be eligible for this scholarship, students must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher (or 80 percent or higher) and demonstrate financial need.
John A. McCluskey And Helen McCluskey Scholarship: This scholarship is available to graduating African American seniors at Middleton High School in Middletown, Ohio who display a passion for athletics. The scholarship is worth $1,000. Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and demonstrate a commitment to community service.
Bryan Cline Memorial Soccer Scholarship Program: The Albuquerque Community Foundation offers an annual $800 award to a graduating senior of the Eldorado High School soccer team. To apply, you must name your varsity soccer team coach and provide two reference letters along with verification that you attend college as a full-time student.
Pinellas All-Star Football Classic Scholarship: These scholarship values vary from $500 to a welcoming $5,000 and may even renew annually. You only need one application that will suit your future needs and interests. Eligible senior students in the Pinellas County Public High School system may apply. To kick start the process, you must first sign up for an account.
Maynard and Ferne Brownell Family Scholarship: The Brownell family has established this award for graduating seniors from Beacon, John Jay, or Roy C. Ketcham high schools. One scholarship will be given to a student who plans to attend an accredited college or university for up to four years. You do not need to play hockey to qualify but to be eligible, candidates should have good grades, experience with sports and/or community service activities, and show financial needs.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, more commonly known as the NCAA, is responsible for organizing college and university sports in America. If you’ve seen “college sports” before on television, it was likely an NCAA game.
The NCAA has three subdivisions:
The divisions of schools generally correspond with the level of interest and investment that the school puts into its athletics department. The biggest, most well-funded schools are Division I while athletic programs in Division III are usually much smaller.
A general rule of thumb is that the most financially generous scholarships come from Division I schools. However, Division II schools also offer athletic scholarships but Division III does not. If being an athletically-funded student is something you’re striving for, look towards Division I and II colleges!
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the governing body for college sports in the United States. In order to be eligible to compete in NCAA Division 1 athletics, student-athletes must meet a set of academic requirements. These requirements are designed to ensure that athletes are prepared to succeed in college and have a realistic chance of completing their degree. For high-school athletes graduating in 2022 or 2023, the core course GPA requirement will be 2.3 or higher. In addition, athletes will need to complete 16 core courses using pass/fail grades (for a full breakdown see the list below). The ACT or SAT will no longer be required for NCAA eligibility. Finally, athletes will need to receive final certification on their amateurism status via the NCAA Eligibility Center. By meeting these requirements, student-athletes will be well-prepared to compete at the collegiate level and pursue their academic goals.
List of 16 core courses you need to complete:
The NCAA Division 2 requires student-athletes to meet certain eligibility requirements in order to compete. For high school athletes graduating in 2021 or 2022 and enrolling in college full-time in 2022-23 or 2023-24, they must graduate high school and complete 16 core courses using pass/fail grades. In addition, they must earn a core course GPA of 2.2 or higher and receive final certification on their amateurism status via the NCAA Eligibility Center. The ACT or SAT is no longer required for Division 2 student-athletes; however, they are still encouraged to take either test.
NCAA Division 3 schools set their own academic eligibility rules, so if you plan on vying for one of these institutions or are unsure which division level you’ll be competing at, begin with a free NCAA Profile page. You can always upgrade to a Certification Account later if you decide to pursue a D1 or D2 program instead.
The best way to secure an athletic scholarship is by researching your options and finding opportunities that fit you. Some important factors to keep in mind as you start your search include:
The process of applying is both competitive and time-consuming, so it’s important that you start researching colleges about two years before the date you plan to attend.
As you do this, gather a list of the coaches’ names and emails. Create a resume that highlights your performance stats, awards, academic transcripts, and ACT/SAT scores. You may also want to create a video showcasing your skills so the coach can get a better idea of your abilities.
It’s not only your athletic ability that gets you an athletic scholarship; good grades matter, too. The NCAA requires all incoming Division I athletes to have at least a 2.3 GPA in order to play their freshman year. After that first year, you need to maintain a minimum GPA each year based on the number of credit hours earned if you want to stay eligible for playing.
One of the best ways to get an athletic scholarship is to make connections with college coaches. It’s important to stay in touch with the coaches once you’ve been offered a scholarship, letting them know how you’re progressing in your studies and athletics. Maintaining a positive relationship with the coaching staff can help ensure that you have a spot on the team when you arrive on campus!
When you receive an athletic scholarship offer, it’s important to evaluate all of your options before making a decision. Some factors you may want to consider include the cost of attendance, the school’s academic standards, and the level of competition you would face as an athlete. If you’re not sure whether or not to accept a scholarship, talk to your parents or other trusted advisors about what is best for you. They can help you weigh the pros and cons of each offer and make a decision that is right for your future.
The two types of scholarships offered for athletes are full-ride and partial. These scholarships have different purposes and help with various expenses. A full-ride athletic scholarship helps with the entire cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, room and board, and books. This type of scholarship can be renewed for up to four years or may only be a one-year contract.
There are six sports that you may receive full-ride scholarships.
The amount of money for scholarships that coaches have in these sports typically needs to be divided among their players. As a result, one student-athlete might only receive an offer to cover the cost of tuition while another player’s offer may only pay for books.
There are a few scenarios that may cause a student-athlete to lose their athletic scholarship. The two primary reasons for this happening are non-renewals and sports injuries.
Check out our list of athletic scholarships below. We have 982 awards worth $4M.
This list combines all scholarships for student athletes. For most scholarships you can qualify if you participate in any sport at your school, while other awards may require you to play a specific sport. Start your search here to find an athletic scholarship today.
An archery scholarship is financial aid that you don't repay. If you plan to compete in college archery, you may be able to apply. Archery is one of the oldest arts but is not an official sport of the NCAA or NAIA. Back in the Stone Age, the archer's bow and arrow was a tool for hunters and in combat.
This great American pastime can help you earn free money for college. If you play baseball for your high school or a local league, you may be eligible for several different college baseball scholarships. Don’t “strike out” on your opportunity at free money for college. Check out our full list of baseball scholarships and apply online.
Take your college funding to new heights with these basketball scholarships. Athletes who play basketball have hundreds of options available — from NCAA to privately-funded athletic scholarships. The competition is high, so apply to as many basketball scholarships as possible! Start your search in this directory and apply online.
Do you want to "strike" it rich? Bowlers have the opportunity to earn some "spare" money for college with these bowling scholarships. Discover all of the available awards for students who participate in sanctioned bowling leagues with this directory of scholarships for bowlers.
Do you have spirit? We have scholarships! Cheerleading scholarships for college are a surefire way to get you pumped for school. This unique sport is sometimes overlooked, but there are plenty of schools that recognize these talented athletes. Help your school’s pride and tradition live on and start the search for cheerleading scholarships in our directory.
If you are a cross country runner, you know the importance of endurance and long-term goals — and that applies to college. There are many cross country scholarships available to athletes who run on high school track teams to help them pay for college. Check out our list of cross country scholarships and discover the free college money waiting for you!
The unique skill of fencing can help add dollars to your college savings. Although this sport isn’t offered at many colleges, there are various scholarship opportunities from leagues and associations. Get an attack on fencing scholarships and check out our directory of awards.
Looking to continue your athletic career in field hockey in college? Whether it’s for a varsity university team, recreational club, or intramural group, there are field hockey scholarships available to players of all skill levels. Check out our directory of scholarships for field hockey players and apply online.
Scholarships to play college football are some of the most prestigious and sought-after athletic scholarships. They also happen to be one of the more competitive ways to find funding for college. If you play football for your high school team, check out our list of football scholarships that can help you tackle your search to pay for college.
If you can get on the green, you may be eligible to get some green! Golf scholarships are a great way to help keep your college funds up to par. Finding golf scholarships may even be easier than hitting a tiny ball into a hole 500 yards away — you just have to know where to look. Our directory of golf scholarships is the perfect place to start your search for free college dollars.
Gymnasts will "flip" over this scholarship directory! The sport of gymnastics is a competitive one that requires hard work and a high level of talent. Not only do gymnasts need to compete for a spot on a school’s team — but also for scholarships. If you’re a gymnast looking to increase your school savings, start your search for gymnastic scholarships here and begin adding dollars to your college funds.
Ice hockey may be well known as an aggressive and competitive sport, but did you also know that there are several ice hockey scholarships available to players? That’s right, and if you play ice hockey at your high school or for a local club or league, there may be free college dollars waiting for you. Check out this directory for some cool ice hockey scholarships.
Lacrosse is a sport with a lot of history – and scholarship opportunities. This tough sport could make it a little easier to pay for your college tuition with lacrosse scholarships. If you play lacrosse for your high school or a local league, check out this directory for ways to find athletic scholarships.
Hit the mark with these scholarship opportunities for marksmen. If you have an interest in riflery and plan to continue the sport on the college level or as a hobby, there may be rifle scholarships available to you to help pay for college. Get your target funding and apply to these rifle scholarships today!
Just like each stroke gets you closer to the finish line, each scholarship you apply for gets you closer to paying for college. Male and female athletes that participate on a crew team have many sports scholarship options available to them. If you’re a rowing crew member, check out these rowing scholarships and "sweep" up the free money.
Set sail for college with these scholarships for sailors. If you plan to participate on a college varsity sailboat racing team, check out these sailing scholarships to help you pay for school. There’s no need to go “overboard” in debt with this list of scholarships for sailors.
Need a lift to find some great scholarships for skiers and snowboarders? If you have a passion for winter sports, you can turn skiing and snowboarding in to college dollars. Some of the best ski colleges are found in the mountains, but some of the best scholarships can be found right here in our skiing and snowboarding scholarship directory.
The growing popularity of this sport means that there are even more opportunities for players to find soccer scholarships. Whether you call it “football” or “soccer,” there are hundreds of sports scholarships for college available to these athletes. If you’re a soccer player looking to score some money for college, kick back, check out this directory of scholarships for soccer players.
Similar to baseball, softball players also have several opportunities to earn college money in these softball scholarships. High school teams and local leagues can help athletes gain exposure as well as qualify them for a softball scholarship. Score a home run with your college funding, and browse our directory of softball scholarships today.
Dive in to these swimming scholarships for a chance to earn some free college money. If you love the water, your time in the pool can really pay off. This directory of swimming scholarships is a great place to start. The extra money you earn could help you do more than just stay afloat with your college finances.
If you have a love for the game, utilize it to help you get tennis scholarships for college. Both singles and doubles tennis players have the opportunity to add to their educational finances with these sports scholarships. Put your college funds at an advantage with this list of scholarships for tennis players.
Similar to cross country runners, athletes that participate in track and field also have many scholarships available to them. As an athlete in track and field, you don’t necessarily need to be a runner. There are also scholarships available to participants in events like the javelin, shot-put, and high jump. So, whether you prefer to jump or sprint, check out these track and field scholarships to find free college dollars.
Looking for volleyball scholarships? Think of us as your setter, giving you the perfect opportunity to spike these scholarship dollars into your college fund. Whether you plan to play for a college team or at the intramural level, you may be eligible to apply for these volleyball scholarships. Start your search and see the free money for college just waiting for you to claim.
No need to "grapple" with your education finances. Wrestlers have several options to win free college dollars. If you are on your school’s wrestling team and plan to participate in the collegiate level, you may be eligible for wrestling scholarships offered by universities and outside organizations. Pin down some great awards in this directory of wrestling scholarships.
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