Planning ahead for a Sports Scholarship


There is a very common misconception amongst student-athletes and their families that they have plenty of time to organise a sports scholarship to a university that they would like to go to in their final year of high school.   We get approached all the time from families asking to help their child in November and wanting them to go to a top university in August.  To this our first response is always, “ok where are you in the process?” To which the normal response is a very bemused expression, as to say “we haven’t started?!”.

Now whilst this is still absolutely possible and we have helped hundreds of student-athletes achieve this in this timeframe, it does greatly reduce your chances of going to a university that is a good fit for you to spend the next four years of your life at.  Going to the right university should be an extremely important decision for every family. Not only can it be very expensive if you do not get it right, but receiving a good education within the right environment and being able to develop in your sport in a team with a compatible coach, are tough points that should be factored in.  We often hear stories of student-athletes accepting the first scholarship offer that comes their way and going to a university purely based on the financial package that they have been offered and this is not the right way to approach such an important decision.

The planning process should actually start believe it or not when the student-athlete enters high school.  Sports scholarships are very sort after commodities and college coaches are now beginning their recruiting process years in advance of that student-athlete actually be able to join their team. A top university will often have their recruitment roster planned and finalized a year in advance.  As well as that the NCAA have become much stricter with the eligibility requirements and if the October forum is anything to go by it is only going to get tougher.  The word itself ‘student-athlete’ now has much more emphasis on the ‘student’ element, with higher academic grades being required in order to compete.

Another common myth that we hear about recruiting is that college coaches will somehow find out about a student-athlete through their tournament results, their individual coach, a camp, or by watching a highlight video sent in by themselves.  Now whilst this is possible the reality is that the majority of coaches lack the time and resources to do this type and amount of preliminary legwork and most coaches prefer to use certified information sent to them from a third-party that they have a prior relationship with. Therefore saving them not only time but they are also safe in the knowledge that the student-athlete will be educated on the complicated application and recruitment process so they are far more likely to be eligible to go.

So regardless of how talented the individual is planning ahead is key. Getting the required core subjects at high school, a good enough SAT/ACT/Toefl, promoting yourself in the right way to relevant coaches, as well adhering to the multitude of NCAA rules and regulations takes a lot of effort, careful planning and above all TIME!

Join up with Play Atlantic and begin your sports scholarship journey by signing up for one of our packages, including a Free one to get you started.