Colleges want winning teams, and not every school is looking for male football players. Tennessee and Connecticut want great female basketball players. You might think of Duke and UCLA as great basketball powerhouses; for years, both have also produced some of the country’s best golfers. And Stanford, as well as UC Berkeley, has some of the strongest swimmers in the nation.
Many NCAA Division I schools will scout outstanding high school athletes. If your high school is not on the scouting circuit, there is usually a process to contact the coach or athletic department to be considered. The coach for each team generally decides which students receive scholarships for college. Formal athletic scholarships are only available at Division I and Division II schools. But Division III colleges may award financial aid based on need or academics, and allow talented athletes to participate in the sport of their choice. Interested in exploring your options for university-administered athletic scholarships? Check out the NCAA website on student athletes to get started.
But wait…there’s more!
Athletic scholarships are awarded not only by colleges, but also by other organizations, and not always for star talent. For example, United States Tennis Association awards a college scholarship for academically accomplished students who participate exclusively in a community tennis program. There are also lots of other athletic associations that offer scholarships like these:
Don’t assume that just because your sport isn’t the most popular, or you aren’t an athletic standout, that you can’t get money for school. Contact affiliated associations and do a little research. You might just find some funds!