Be aware that not every type of athletic scholarship covers the complete cost of attendance. The majority offer partial funds; however, they can still drastically reduce your overall education costs. This is the dream, of being able to pursue your academic goals and your athletic dreams simultaneously.
There are many things to know if you are fortunate enough to be in this position. Learn more about what to expect below:
You must apply for college even if you have been granted an athletic scholarship
You are required to fill out your college applications even if you have a verbal offer from your coach, regardless of your athletic capabilities. Keep track of the important details such as deadlines and test dates.
If you are seeking to play at Division I or Division II schools, you will have additional registration to complete with the NCAA Eligibility Center on top of your college admissions applications. This dual process ensures that you meet both academic and athletic standards.
Sports Account for Much Of Your Time
Learning how to navigate and balance your sports schedule and your schoolwork is essential. You will need to keep up with a strong training and game schedule, attend team meetings, potentially deal with injuries, and review film. These tasks alone can take Division I athletes as much as 9 hours a day.
You must be proficient at organizing your time and managing your calendar. If you have social events with friends or a part-time work schedule and transportation to figure out, this will require even more diligence. It is possible to balance sports, school, and your friends; however, expect to have to say no to certain things as your sleep and well-being will be the main priority.
Most Athletic Scholarships Have No 4-year Guarantee
While it would be nice to assume that you will be set for your entire college career by winning an athletic scholarship, this isn't the case. There is the option for Division I schools to offer multiyear scholarships to athletes; however, the majority are annually renewed at the coach’s discretion.
There are numerous factors that can contribute to you not getting your scholarship renewed including poor academics, breaking rules, injuries, or breaking the law.
Note that if the athlete's financial aid will not be renewed or will be reduced, the school must notify the student in writing by July 1st before the academic year. They have to offer enough time and opportunity for an appeal.
Additional Funding Opportunities
Even though some lucky students can obtain an athletic scholarship, it is common for them to still need funds to cover their expenses. Thankfully, there are options. Fill out the FAFSA, Free Application For Federal Student Aid every year to find out if you qualify for federal student loans, grants and scholarships.
Understand that an NCAA scholarship has grade requirements for Division I student-athletes. It is essential to complete a minimum of 6 hours of credits per term. Another requirement is to have 40 percent of their degree finished by the end of year two.
It is necessary to maintain the minimum GPA which is set by the school's graduation requirements. There is a minimum requirement of a 2.0 GPA for Division II athletes.
It is important to know that if these athletic scholarship requirements go unfulfilled, many schools will consider a player to be ineligible to play. Students who don't meet the academic expectations for the whole year may face disqualification, academic probation from the university, or removal from the team.
Tutoring and Academic Help
It is common for universities to provide academic help and tutoring for free for all students. It is important to ask your professor, your coach, or your academic advisor the moment you are dealing with any struggles. Since many concepts build on each other, don't procrastinate if you need help. There may only be a window of opportunity to avoid a failing grade.
Embrace being a Student-Athlete
Being a student-athlete will require you to balance a full academic and sports schedule, but the experience can be worth the added commitment you have to make. The degree you earn on your athletic scholarship will be beneficial to your future career, even if you hang up your jersey for good after graduation.