Some students have been a part of team sports since grade school. From soccer and softball to basketball and football, many parents and their children dream of making it to college on a full-ride sports scholarship. Unfortunately, receiving such an award is typically easier said than done. While there is nothing wrong with aiming high, when it comes to seriously being considered for athletic scholarships, student athletes will want to take note of the following factors and ways they can increase their odds.
Athletes: Talk To Your Coach
Simply playing on a high school team isn’t enough to attract the attention of college recruiters. Student athletes should make it a point to talk to their coach and develop a solid working relationship. Express your interests in playing at the college level and ask for his/her feedback on ways to go about this effectively. Networking is vital–you may have a coach who is well connected and able to get you in front of the right people. Taking the initiative will show your coach how serious and committed you are to reaching your goals.
Create a Highlight Reel to Attract an Athletic Scholarship
Unless recruiters regularly attend your school’s games, you’ll have to take things into your own hands to increase your visibility. Highlight reels are wonderful resources, which allow recruiters and college coaches to see what student athletes have to offer–even if they aren’t physically present at the games. Use the Internet to upload videos of your best moments from different games throughout the season. Having your highlight reel live on the Internet is a great way to point recruiters to your work in a way that is easy for them to access and doesn’t involve playing a CD/DVD.
Make the First Move
There is no rule saying that student athletes can’t contact college coaches and recruiters directly. If you know which schools you plan on applying to during your senior year, look up the official websites for each college or university and send the coach or recruiter an email. Keep it brief and to the point: introduce yourself, state the high school you’re currently attending, what sport you play there, your position and how long you’ve been on the team. This is the ideal time to mention any statistics, awards/recognition you’ve received, as well as links to your online highlight reel.
Keep Those Grades Up in College
Sure, athletic scholarships are awarded to stellar student athletes that have demonstrated their abilities in action but that isn’t the only criteria that needs to be met. Colleges and universities want student athletes that will not only help them win games but will be an academic asset as well. Dedicate your high school years–especially your junior and senior years–to maintaining high marks. An individual who is both a great athlete as well as a great student in the classroom is a winning combination every time.
The Odds Aren’t Great
There may be a lot of athletic scholarships available but there are a lot more student athletes competing for them. Be realistic about your chances and seek out other types of college scholarships and financial aid to help you pay your way through college.