Planning to Apply for a Sports Scholarship? Here’s What You Should Know

If you had an impressive sports career in high school and plan to attend college, you may be thinking about applying for a sports scholarship. As you might expect, these types of scholarships are in extremely high demand. Since sports scholarships also operate differently from other types of scholarships, we provide a brief overview of what to expect in this blog.

Combining Sports and Academic Scholarships

Depending on the rules of the college you want to attend, you may be able to combine an athletic scholarship with an academic scholarship to reduce your out-of-pocket attendance costs. Schools typically require a minimum grade point average, SAT or ACT score, and require the student-athlete to be at least within the top 20 percent of their class academically.

Timing of Athletic Scholarship Offers

Coaches from college teams scout high school players to recruit by attending their games. Scholarship offers from college coaches typically come in during the junior or senior year of high school. A coach might also make an offer during an unofficial visit to your high school.

You can expect things to operate differently if you receive a sports scholarship offer because of the coronavirus pandemic. Although many precautions aimed at slowing the contagious virus spread are winding down, you could still receive your sports scholarship offer through a video call rather than in person.

How Long Does a Sports Scholarship Last?

Most athletic scholarships last for one school year, although you will occasionally hear about a high school student receiving a full-ride scholarship for all four years. Assuming you receive a one-year scholarship, your coach will let you know the renewal criteria and perform an evaluation towards the end of the school year.

Keep in mind that the sports scholarship you receive in the second and subsequent years of college may not be as much as your first year. It is common for colleges to offer more to student-athletes in their freshman year to entice them to choose their school over another school. You could potentially lose an athletic scholarship as well. Some common reasons for this include:

  • Not maintaining a certain grade point average with coursework
  • Sustaining an injury serious enough to keep you from playing for an extended time
  • Poor athletic performance at the college level
  • Your coach leaves the team, and the new coach decides not to renew your scholarship

Which Sports Are Most Likely to Attract a College Scholarship?

According to a November 2018 article published on the website Market Watch, students who play these sports receive scholarships the most often:

  • Gymnastics
  • Fencing
  • Ice hockey
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Alpine skiing
  • Rifle
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Soccer
  • Swimming and diving
  • Tennis
  • La Crosse
  • Cross-country
  • Track and field
  • Water polo
  • Wrestling
  • Volleyball

The above list is a ranking of how often students receive a scholarship for that sport. For example, the ratio of scholarships for gymnastics is 20:1. This means one student receives a scholarship for every 20 who apply. The ratio for volleyball is 177:1.

Have additional questions about financing college? Schedule a consultation with Accolade Financial today.