By Daniel Joyce
Signing a letter of intent on National Signing Day can be a life-altering moment for many students and families. With the high cost of tuition today, the opportunity to have your education paid for through a scholarship is amazing.
However, only about two percent of high-school athletes will receive a scholarship from a Division 1 or 2 program. Division 3 schools do not offer athletics scholarships; although there are opportunities to earn merit-based scholarships.
You may be thinking, “That’s not a lot.” Well, you’re right. It is extremely difficult to earn an athletics scholarship. So what can you do to become one of the select few? ]The short answer is to perform at an elite level.
The reality is that there is no tangible measurement for young athletes. Think of it this way: college coaches are essentially investing in you. If they like what they see from your athletic performance, they may provide you with an athletics scholarship to help their program.
So really you’re trying to make yourself as marketable as possible. How one goes about this can differ from sport to sport.
For instance, in track and field it is very easy for a coach to look over results, see your name, and send your school a recruitment letter. They may never actually see you run.
With other sports, like football or soccer, it is more important for coaches or scouts to see you in action. That’s why it’s important to utilize whatever tools are at your disposal. Make a highlight tape of your best performances. With YouTube, it’s easier than ever to market yourself. You can also make a DVD and send it to coaches.
It is important during this extremely selective process to temper your expectations. Make sure your choice of schools is realistic considering your athletic abilities and accomplishments. Take a look at teams’ rosters and try to get a sense of how you stack up. Also, don’t limit yourself to Division 1 colleges – there are plenty of high-quality Division 2 teams with money to give out.
One final note: remember this is about making yourself as marketable as possible. Work as hard as you can on and off the field. A promising athlete who works hard in both their school and community will always be appealing.