This is a guest post by freelance publisher Tom Grant.
College can be an expensive prospect and sometimes the cost of a student’s dream school can be a major impediment. One approach to overcoming the cost barrier is to earn scholarships and, if you have the talent, a sports scholarship may be a very good option. Many colleges award sport scholarships, but they can be highly competitive. Here is a look at a few things that every prospective student can do to train for a college sports scholarships.
Make Your Presence Known
Coaches can’t recruit you if they don’t even know you exist. While some high schools have strong sports programs that attract recruiters, many do not. That doesn’t mean that a few players aren’t exceptional, but only that recruiters have a limited amount of time and so they go to the tried and true programs. If you are interested in a sports scholarship, then you need to get your name in front of coaches.
The best place to start advertising yourself is the Internet. Make sure you have a professional sports preference online. If your name isn’t showing up as much as you would like in search engines like Google, set up Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media accounts to focus on your sports achievements. Keep in mind that this kind of publicity, while effective, can take time to build, so start your social media campaign early.
Beyond the passive approach mentioned above, you may want to consider actively engaging coaches through email or by calling them. Don’t hesitate to join their recruiting networks online and be sure to subscribe to their Facebook pages. You will probably want look at online recruiting advice to see how to go about contacting coaches, how to make recruiting videos and other media, and how to negotiate for a scholarship when the time comes.
Finally, you need to be seen in person. Visit the schools you are interested in, set up meetings with coaches, and go to as many games as possible. The last tip is critical. You not only want the coaches to see you play, you want to see their teams play as well. Make your interest known. If you ask, they may even allow you to participate in practice or they might let you sit with the team during a game. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It is better to be rejected trying than to never try miss out on being accepted.
Scholarships Are Available at Most Levels
You don’t have to target the top national sports programs in order to get a scholarship. Many programs offer scholarship money to athletes, even those that never make the national news. Target programs that are within your reach given your particular talents. If you aren’t sure where you start, ask people with experience, like coaches or even the admissions offices at colleges, to give you some advice on what your best targets would be. That being said, don’t hesitate to include a few stretch schools in the list and work hard to woo them as well.
Be Outstanding in All Aspects of Your Life
College sports teams are looking for great athletes, but they are also looking for good scholars and outstanding citizens. Show the team that you can bring them accolades both on and off the field as both will increase your appeal. Community involvement, good grades, and interests outside of sports are all important aspects of your life that coaches will consider when making a scholarship offer. Showing passion in all aspects of your life tells people something about your character and about the efforts they can expect from you.
Search Far and Wide
The Internet offers a number of useful scholarship search engines like Fastweb, College Board, Scholarships.com, and more. Use these tools to make learn about the scholarship options you have in sports and in other areas like academics, community service, and other extracurricular interests. There are a number of scholarship opportunities out there, such as this one from Kevin Kerekes, which are peripherally related to sports but not specifically awarded based on athletic ability. These scholarships can not only help you pay for school, they also offer great conversation starters that you can use during visits with coaches and recruiters.
Make it Count
Applying for scholarships is a tough process. There is a lot to keep track of and the requirements can be overwhelming. Choose scholarships based on what is most attainable for you and what you are most interested in. Focus on doing your best with those scholarships you consider to be high priorities, but don’t hesitate to expand your prospects as much as possible after you’ve covered the basics. In other words, hard work is to be expected, but it will pay off in the end. Put in the time and your efforts will be rewarded.
Peter Miles writes about baseball and investment. Spending his youth in baseball, he knows what it takes to elevate one’s game to the next level. He loves his family and enjoys exercising.