Athletic scholarships are open to student-athletes pursuing higher education who are exceptional at their sport. Offered as financial aid from the university's athletic department, sports scholarships are based on the skills of student-athletes. College coaches make decisions on which student-athletes receive athletic scholarships and for how much. There are opportunities to earn partial scholarships or full scholarships depending on the experience the student-athlete has and their abilities.
As of 2019, 57.4% of high school students participated in at least one sport. Despite the high number of student-athletes, only about 2% of high school athletes are awarded athletic scholarships to play in college sports. There are a variety of scholarships available for student-athletes.
An annual $2.7 billion is given in scholarship money by Division I schools and Division II schools as part of the recruiting process for student-athletes. Prospective student-athletes planning to join college athletics and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), NJCAA, or NAIA can seek financial aid through their college's scholarships for student-athletes.
When looking to join college sports, it is important for student-athletes to begin by assessing their athletic ability. While playing high school sports, talk to your coach and even seek a third-party opinion on where your athleticism stands. Division I schools aren't for everyone, so in order to increase your chances of earning an athletic scholarship, look for the schools and teams that would be the best fit for you.
You're more likely to be awarded a sports scholarship if you plan ahead and be honest with yourself about which NCAA division will be the best fit for you. Use your high school years to refine your skills and discover where your athletic skills can take you.
From early on, it is important to make connections with college coaches and intercollegiate athletics recruiters. The NCAA has recruitment rules for recruiters and athletes, so make sure you understand how you can best represent yourself to colleges. In reaching out to recruiters and coaches, it is smart to make an athletic resume or a highlights reel in order to show your strengths.
Additionally, professionalism in your emails, phone calls, or personal conversations with coaches can go a long way in showing your seriousness about being involved in their college sports programs.
When coaches begin recruiting student-athletes, they look at more than just your sports record. If you have a poor academic history or an inappropriate social media presence, coaches will be less inclined to give an athletic scholarship to you.
You don't necessarily need to be a straight-A student, but stable grades show your aptitude for success in your college education on top of your athletic success. For example, Division I schools require their student-athletes to have at least a 2.3 GPA.
In order to get your name out there and increase your credibility in the athletic community, you should look for other ways to help set yourself apart. This could be joining a travel team, attending camps, or engaging in other year-round programs to give you more experience and give you more chances of being spotted by recruiters.
Keep an eye out for which teams have the best track record in placing their athletes into college teams, and get involved with them. Surround yourself with the best resources to give you athletic scholarship opportunities!
The most important part of seeking out an athletic scholarship is finding the best division, school, and team for you. This choice takes many things into account, not just money. Take time finding an athletic scholarships that best meets your goals, so you can be happy with not only the financial aid but also with your college education.
Bold.org has plenty of athletic scholarships for different sports and student-athletes of different education levels. Broader scholarships include the BTL Athletes Scholarship, which is perfect for undergraduate athletes or high school athletes in their junior or senior year who come from low-income backgrounds. For students planning to become sports industry professionals, there is the FOS Sports Industry Professional Scholarship.
Additionally, Bold.org has sports scholarships for students from specific states. These include the Peter T. Buecher Memorial Scholarship, which is for student-athletes from Minnesota, and the Michael J.L. Suojanen Memorial Athletics Scholarship, which supports high school athletes from Pennsylvania.
While these scholarships are specific to students of certain locations, others are specific to student-athletes of a specified sport. Martial arts athletes can apply to the Martial Arts Scholarship. Other Bold.org sports scholarships are specifically for baseball players, golf players, volleyball players, and more.
See the scholarships listed on this page to begin applying for athletic scholarships. Additionally, talk to your coaches and academic advisors to find scholarships that you are best suited for. Scholarships for athletes are out there, so use your resources to find the best opportunities for you.
Finding sports scholarships can be a process, so there are often many questions about the athletic scholarship process and what goes into earning scholarship money for student-athletes. Below, we answer some of the most-asked questions about finding and receiving athletic scholarships.
No, ivy league colleges do not award athletic scholarships. However, student-athletes are still eligible for other financial aid scholarships, such as those based on need or academic scholarships. Students accepted to ivy league schools have already displayed a level of academic excellence, which can often pave the way for scholarships that aren't specifically for athletics.
Division III schools do not give athletic scholarships, since Division III teams typically have smaller budgets. Despite not giving out scholarships for student-athletes, division III schools still offer scholarships. 75% of student-athletes receive need-based or merit scholarships.
Yes, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) provides scholarships for both Division I and Division II student-athletes. The NAIA isn’t as large of an association as the NCAA, so they do not offer the same quantity of scholarships.
However, they are able to provide scholarships to a wider variety of student-athletes, since the NAIA doesn’t have as specific restrictions for being on a college team. The NAIA provides both partial scholarships and full scholarships depending on the athletic ability of the student. Partial scholarships are more common.
Division II sports teams give scholarships to student-athletes, but not as many as in Division. With that being said, there are varying opportunities to receive scholarships, especially partial ones. They spread their scholarships more widely than Division I, giving fewer full-rides and more partial scholarships, giving to a larger number of student-athletes.
Students are able to apply for academic scholarships at the same time as athletic scholarships for Division II schools, giving them chances to fund the other aspects of college outside of sports.
Financial aid and athletic scholarships can be combined, however earning one type may affect the likelihood of receiving the other. The NCAA has various regulations that determine how financial aid and athletic scholarships can be used together. When deciding which program you are going to pursue, check their rules - whether that be NCAA, NAIA, or other.
Make sure you understand how financial aid and athletic scholarships work together near the beginning of the process so you can plan accordingly. Take to the financial aid office and athletic department at the school you are planning to attend for more specific information.