In the wise words of College Sports Scholarships, "if you don't apply for college athletic scholarships then you won't get one..." Athletic scholarships are offered by colleges and universities to high school students who demonstrate exceptional ability at sports. Often, athletic scholarships allow students to attend college for four years without having to pay tuition. Because of the significance of these scholarships, colleges and universities use great discretion when awarding them. The process for obtaining an athletic scholarship begins with student athletes performing well enough in their sport to attract college talent scouts to attend their games.
Invest time into practicing your sport of interest. Spend time outside of organized practice to work on your skills alone. Maintain good grades in school and take as many college preparatory classes as possible. Be motivated to be the best student athlete you can be by working consistently each day to better yourself.
Check out the NCAA requirements online for student athletes (see Resources). Consult with your guidance counselor to assist you in registering for the courses listed. Try out for your school's varsity team for your sport of interest and the sport in which you have gained competency.
Try out for the team. Make a list of the colleges you would like to attend. Begin as early as your freshman year so that you can begin introducing yourself to as many college recruiters and coaches as possible. However, you may wait until your sophomore year to begin this process.
Hire a sports recruiting service to help market you to the colleges on your list. Begin working on your athletic resume, which should contain your athletic profile (height, weight, position and average game statistics) athletic accomplishments, academic profile (grade point average, academic clubs and community service activities), current game schedule and letters of references from coaches.
Write an introductory letter asking the coaches to come see you play. Mail your athletic resume to the schools on your list and wait to hear from them. Be patient, college coaches and recruiters get a large amount of requests for scholarships each year.
Including a video tape of your game highlights with your athletic resume allows college coaches and recruiters to see your prowess, which can increase their interest in coming to see you play.
Waiting until the last minute to apply for athletic scholarships can result in you being told by a number of schools that they have awarded all of their scholarships.
Leonard Dozier is a freelance writer based in southern New Jersey and New York. His film and sports columns have been published by "Casino Connection Magazine" and Trev Rogers sports respectively. A prolific and extremely versatile writer, he is an ASCAP songwriter and has written screenplays and stage plays registered with the Writer's Guild of America.