Athletic Scholarships

How to Find an Athletic Scholarship

If you’ve been wondering how to get athletic scholarships for college, it helps to understand the structure of the Nationwide College Sports Connection (NCAA).

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) helps Division I and Division II schools award athletic scholarships to students with exceptional athletic skills.  These scholarships are awarded directly by the academic institutions themselves, not through the NCAA. Therefore, students who are looking for an athletic scholarship will need to approach the schools directly. In 2013, thousands of scholarships will be awarded.  Read more for how to find an athletic scholarship in 2013.

College Scholarships Depend on Athletic Division

Division I schools are the larger schools with the best athletes.  This is the top level.

Division II schools are on the second level of athletic competition.  The best athletes at Division II schools can be compared to the best athletes at Division I schools.  Oftentimes, the school’s academic program or location is more suited to the athlete, so many of the best athletes still opt for Division II schools.

Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, but other forms of financial aid are available.  These schools are smaller.  Many of the best Division III athletes are suitable to play at Division II schools.

The First Steps to Finding an Athletic Scholarship

To find a college athletic scholarship, start by checking with your high school coach and your school counsellor to understand the realistic expectations in terms of your athletic and scholastic abilities.

If you are a top athlete and top scholar, you will want to set your sights high to your favorite schools with the best teams.   You may catch the eye of smaller colleges, where you can receive an excellent education but not be in the limelight of the best college teams.  Remember to place your education first.

Depending on your athletic skills and academic interests, find the right balance for you.  Look into other opportunities to fund your college education, such as college grants, as well as academic scholarships and possibly need-based grants and scholarships.

If you are interested in several different colleges, don’t hesitate to contact the admissions office of each college.  They should be able to answer your specific questions.  It’s best to approach the departmental offices for the major you are interested in studying as well as the colleges’ financial offices as well.  Make sure to time your visit during a quiet time of the academic calendar.   Don’t show up during finals week, during the two weeks leading up to the start of a semester or the first two weeks of a semester.  That way the staff will have more time to give you the attention you are looking for and answer the questions you have.

Recommended Reading for Getting an Athletic Scholarship

For students looking for how to get an athletic scholarship, we recommend the following books:

The Sports Scholarships Insider’s Guide: Getting Money for College at Any Division

Athletic Scholarships For Dummies

The Student Athlete’s Guide to Getting Recruited: How to Win Scholarships, Attract Colleges and Excel as an Athlete

Athletes Wanted: The Complete Game Plan for Maximizing Athletic Scholarship and Life Potential

The Athletic Recruiting & Scholarship Guide is a great website with a toll free number.  You can register as a parent or student and create a profile to see about how an student athlete gets recruited and learn more about how to get athletic scholarships.