Is a Sports Scholarship a Good Way to Pay for College?

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Many athletic students and their parents hope that they will be offered a full-ride sports scholarship. With the rising cost of a college education, for some the only realistic way that they can attend a university is to some how win a scholarship award. Sports scholarships are offered to very athletic students who have proven themselves in high school and who college scouts have seen play and want on their teams. You may be wondering if an athletic scholarship in any sport is really a great way to pay for college, and the answer is it depends. You will need to know several different things before you assume that you or your child’s college career will be a free ride.

Scholarships May Not Be as Sizable As You May Assume

Movies and media may portray athletic scholarships as ones that offer the student the ability to do everything in college free of charge. While some superstar students may have their full room and board paid for, the size of sports scholarships are not as large as you might normally think. Based on all of the scholarships awarded at any level, the average amount of the award is only $10,400.

The only sports that offer students or team members the opportunity for a free ride in school are football, volleyball, and basketball. The other sports are defined as equivalency sports, and because of this, the scholarship awards for participants in these sports can be divided. This means that you may get a very small portion of the pie.

The Odds of Landing an Athletic Scholarship

The number of high school players dramatically outweighs the number of scholarships that are available. While availability changes, there are about 138,000 scholarships that are awarded to prospective students who want to play or compete in college. Assuming there are millions of high school competitors all aiming to win the same scholarships, chances of even highly skilled players getting an award are slim.

Seeking the Schools and Renewing the Awards

It is easy to just assume that people will hear about your child and then discover them during a big championship game. Unfortunately, you cannot wait for a child to be discovered like they are in the movies unless they are a state-wide superstar. College coaches wait for introductions and will review your stats if you send them. Be persistent and send this information to the schools that you are most interested in.

You also cannot assume that your award will last for as long as you are attending school. Most awards must be renewed every year so that you have a reason to keep your grades up. The award is not guaranteed if you do not meet the minimum requirements.

No one wants to pay for all of their tuition when they can be awarded money that does not have to be paid back. While an athletic scholarship is a great way to reduce costs, it should not be relied on as the primary way to pay for your education. Be sure to keep a positive mind when you search for a sports scholarship, and learn about the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.

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