Young Black male basketball player in uniform preparing to dunk ball in hoop

Scholarship Tips for the Future College Athlete

A full ride isn't in the cards for every student-athlete, so it's super important to search and apply for scholarships! Get started with this advice.

I’m sure you’ve seen the following statement on the CollegeXpress home page a few times: "Do you know that every year scholarships go unused just because no one applied? That's wasted money!" I’m also sure you’ve probably glanced at it a few times but never really took it to heart. But think about it: there are over 17,000 scholarships in our database alone. All together, the scholarship search is worth over $7 billion. That's billion with a "B." What's even crazier is some of that scholarship money really does go to waste every year because no one applies! Would you refuse free money and just say, “No thanks?” That’s kind of what's happening out there in the scholarship application world right now. There's plenty of free money to go around, and you should take advantage of it. Unfortunately, a full ride for your sport isn't that common, so searching and applying for scholarships is especially important for student-athletes. Check out this advice to help get your search started.

Important questions to ask

If you're looking at NCAA schools, there are some things you need to consider first. Ask yourself: What division do I want to play in? Do I absolutely need a scholarship in order to go to this school? How much money do I need? Answering these questions will put you on a better path of finding the right college and team for you. NCAA Divisions I and II offer scholarships to their athletes ranging from full- to half-tuition awards, which is amazing, but there are a lot of other expenses you'll have to cover. On the other hand, Division III schools don't offer any money to their athletes. Don't be deterred by that one small issue though—if you want to play D-III, play D-III! There are tons of options out there that will help minimize your college costs.

Related: 5 Questions to Answer Before Becoming a College Athlete 

Scholarships for student-athletes

Scholarships just for athletes include Foot Locker Scholar Athletes, FieldLevel Athletic Recruiting No–Essay Scholarship, and BigSun Athletic Scholarship. There are thousands more out there, including school-specific athletic scholarships and grants—it just takes some work to find them. If you're eligible for a scholarship, go for it! You have absolutely nothing to lose by applying but plenty to gain. And don’t stop there; there are tons of other scholarships that you can and should apply for that don't have to do with sports. I pulled a few of my favorites together for you (and no worries, they're all quick and easy to apply for):

  1. CollegeXpress Easy One-Question Scholarships
  2. "Be Bold" No–Essay Scholarship 
  3. Make Me Laugh Scholarship 
  4. 10 Words or Less Scholarship 
  5. CareerFitter.com Scholarship

No excuses for not applying

Regardless of your situation (i.e., your parents are footing the entirety or part of your tuition, you get a full athletic ride—which is rare, by the way), scholarship money is still very important. Think about books, supplies, grabbing food outside of school, and all that extra stuff that adds up over four years. Scholarships don’t just cover tuition and fees; they can save you from falling into a lot of money pits in the college world. And really, there's always room to get some extra dough and plenty of awards that don't require that much time to apply for. So there really are no excuses!

Related: How to Apply for Scholarships the Right Way 

Make your athletic dreams happen

It’s also important to remember that with scholarships (and maybe even student loans), anything is possible. Don’t let finances ruin your chance to go to your dream school and play on your dream team. Even if you get the smallest scholarship, that could save you hundreds of dollars on some athletic equipment or a semester of books, which is incredibly helpful. Ultimately, most people leave college with at least a little debt, and those same people will tell you the experience was worth every penny! So take 10 or 15 minutes over the next few days and check out the awards above (and more on CollegeXpress) and give scholarships a shot. Everyone has the same chance of getting an award, so what do you have to lose?

Baseball, basketball, badminton, boxing, billiards...find scholarship opportunities for your favorite sport using our Scholarship Search tool!

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About Megan Gibbs

Megan Gibbs

Megan Gibbs is the Associate Vice President of CollegeXpress. She has worked for Carnegie Darlet, CollegeXpress's parent company, since graduating from Merrimack College in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Megan is the glue that keeps CollegeXpress together and the push that keeps us moving forward. As an avid sports fan and high school athlete herself, Megan looks forward to all Boston sports seasons. She hopes to provide a fun and unique look at college and university-level athletics from March Madness, scholarships, and recruitment to intramurals and athletic culture! 

 

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