Monday, September 28, 2020

Applying To College - Here's How A Sports Scholarship Can Get You A Free Ride

Written for the Life According to Steph audience by Maggie Hammond,  proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.

Making the decision about where to go to college, what you would like to study, and how you’re going to pay for it is tough for anyone. It’s easy to feel completely torn between all the things that you love, and trying to figure out how those things might be able to translate into a career that will give you the standard of life that you are hoping for.

A lot of students who love sports feel as though they need to stop playing them frequently in order to focus on their studies and give themselves a better chance at a career that they can maintain for life. Even if you were to make it as a professional athlete, you can only keep performing at the top of your game for so long before age starts to creep up on you.

You Can Keep Doing What You Love

Sports scholarships actively encourage you to keep playing the sport that you love, AND at the same time, open the door to academic institutions and the benefits that they bring.

Not only are you encouraged to keep playing, but you will be competing for your school. This means that you can pursue your dreams of being a professional athlete, while at the same time getting a great quality education and setting yourself up for a career in the future.

Save Yourself a LOT of Money

A good quality college education is expensive. The US is known for the top tier education that its colleges provide, and students will pay for that privilege. On average, most students are graduating with $132,860 worth of debt from their tuition fees alone. Then on top of that, you will need to consider the cost of accommodation, which can be very pricey if you are living in a city, as well as your day-to-day living costs such as food, broadband, and clothes.

There is financial aid available to help students with the cost of their degrees; however, a lot of people still leave college with a substantial amount of student loan debt which has to be paid back monthly and is consistently accruing interest.

In 2019, ASM secured over 799 sport scholarships for their clients which saved them on average $37,000 per year.

It Can Lead to a Professional Sports Career

A sports scholarship means playing your chosen sport for your school, traveling all over the country, and competing against other college teams in your division. Essentially you will be getting a taste of what it’s like to be a professional athlete, only without the paycheck.

Talent scouts from major leagues like the NFL frequently attend college games and watch for promising young stars that they can recruit when they graduate, so if you have dreams of being a professional athlete, playing college sports is a great way to not only gain valuable experience of what it’s like, but also to get yourself in front of the people who can make your dreams a reality.

You’ll Have a Degree

It could be argued that if your dream really is to be a professional athlete, why not just focus on that and not bother with college at all?

Well, aside from the fact that you wouldn’t get the exposure to major league scouts that we just talked about, along with the valuable experience, the fact is that the career of a professional athlete has a best before date on it. For example, the average retirement age of a professional footballer is 35. Even if you make millions by then and don’t need to worry about earning a living, you will still want to do something that you find meaningful with your life once your athletic career is over. If you already have a degree in a subject that you love, then you will have a lot more options open to you than you would without a degree and the knowledge that comes with it.

You’ll Learn Organization and Motivation

Some schools heavily focus on the sports careers of their sports scholarship students, whereas some equally weigh academic and sporting achievements. It’s definitely worth choosing a school whose values align with your own in this regard. If you want to dedicate an equal amount of time to your studies and your sport, then be sure to choose a school who shares this ideology. In the same way, if you would prefer to focus most of your energy on sports then choose a college who takes its sporting teams seriously.

Whatever type of school you choose, you will need to work hard and maintain your focus if you are going to perform at the standard you need both academically and in the sports world. It will be tough, but the good news is that other people will recognize how tough it is. That means being able to show a prospective employer that you successfully completed college on a sports scholarship will put you ahead of other candidates. The self-motivation and focus that you learn during your time at college will also stand you in good stead if you ever want to start a business of your own, as these are skills that a good entrepreneur must possess.

How Can You Get a Scholarship?

College coaches may start scouting players as young as thirteen, so if you’re serious about getting a sports scholarship, you need to get started as soon as possible.

Of course, it’s also possible that the coach at your dream school may not get the opportunity to scout you! They will be looking at thousands of athletes, so your best bet is to make the first move. Contact the coach at your dream school and express your desire to be a part of their team. This will get them to at least start looking at your record.

Once you have their attention, show them why they should pick you! You could compile a portfolio of all your achievements for them to look through, including video footage and details of scores. A letter of recommendation from your current coach will go a long way, too.

If you don’t hear back from them, keep getting in touch! You might feel as though you are harassing them, but in fact, you are simply proving how dedicated you are.

Finally, understand that scholarships aren’t guaranteed. It’s up to you to decide whether you would accept a scholarship from an alternative school if your first choice doesn’t have one available, or whether you would still attend your first choice school even without the scholarship.



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