Here are 10 of the top questions parents are asking about athletic scholarships. As we close out 2015 and turn the calendar to the new year, I hope the answers to these questions will keep you pointed in the right direction.
Before we get into them, I want to remind you that my free Recruiting Mini-Course will take you step-by-step through the things you need to do in 2016. I encourage you to watch this three-part video tutorial.
And now, here are the questions:
ONE: What’s included in an athletic scholarship? It depends on the offer, but a scholarship can range from a full ride to a portion of a student-athlete’s college expenses. Your kid may be offered tuition, or room and board, or books, or a combination of these things. Each sport has a limit on the number of scholarships it can offer, so the coach has to divide the dollars between the scholarship athletes.
TWO: How do I get my kid noticed by college coaches? The most important thing is to take the initiative. Don’t wait for college coaches to find your son or daughter, because it probably won’t happen. Sure, the elite athletes get discovered easily. However, in most cases, kids need to take the first step in order to get the attention of college coaches. What you should do is put together and send a good, short introductory packet that makes a good first impression on coaches at the schools you have interest in. You’ll be surprised how this simple step can produce amazing results.
THREE: Are athletic scholarships guaranteed for four years? No. Scholarships are usually awarded year-to-year, although the NCAA allows multi-year offers. If a student-athlete performs poorly, he can lose his scholarship the next year. Behavior and grades are other factors that can affect an athlete’s scholarship renewal. It is important to read the language of the scholarship agreement and ask questions.
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FOUR: How common is a full-ride scholarship? Full ride scholarships are only offered in “head count sports.” The remainder of the sports are called “equivalency sports,” where coaches divide the scholarships among the scholarship athletes. These athletes receive “partial scholarships.” Full-ride sports at the D1 level are football, men and women’s basketball, and women’s gymnastics, volleyball and tennis.
FIVE: What’s the best way to contact coaches? It is best to reach out to them by email or regular mail. Telephone isn’t reliable, because you’ll probably get voicemail and the coach is going to want to see something in writing anyway. You should put together a great introductory packet that highlights your son or daughter’s athletic and academic abilities and achievements. This is the best way to get started. If the coach is interested in pursuing your athlete, he will follow up.
Don’t just take my advice. Hear directly from a seasoned D1 college coach who tells us, from his perspective, the best way to contact college coaches. You’ll learn a lot that will help you avoid costly mistakes. Listen to the interview in my latest episode of the Athletic Scholarship Podcast.
SIX: Should I use a recruiting service? As you may know, recruiting services are expensive. Most families can’t afford to go this route. In addition, most coaches will not pursue athletes that use recruiting services to make the contact with coaches. Coaches want to hear from the athlete, not a service or a parent. Even with a service, you’ll have a lot of work once the recruiting process begins. Using a recruiting service doesn’t guarantee your athlete will get recruited. You should not turn over the recruiting process to a third party.
SEVEN: How do I know if my kid is really being recruited? High school athletes get letter from coaches all the time, and in many cases they are not recruiting letters. They are often invitations to camps. College coaches try to fill their camps because they are fundraising tools for the program. A letter or email does not mean your athlete is being recruited. If a coach takes a second step with a phone call, visit, or comes see your son or daughter compete, then recruiting is happening. If the coach engages in ongoing email conversation or texting, that’s also a good sign recruiting is really happening.
EIGHT: How important are camps in getting my kid recruited? Attending camps can be deceiving when it comes to recruiting. You really need to find out if this is genuinely a recruiting camp or if it is instructional. How did the coach get your athlete’s name and contact info? Is this an invitation to recruits or a mass mailing? In addition, is this a school where your son or daughter might be interested in attending? You have to spend your money wisely, so make sure that the camps fit into your list of schools.
NINE: How do I produce a good video? A video will really help a coach decide if he will recruit your son or daughter. The Introductory Packet will make your athlete look good on paper, but how about performance? A good video will have three important parts: 1. A personal introduction by your athlete, 2. Close-ups of your athlete so the coach can see form and athleticism, and 3. Continuous footage in competition. That way a coach can watch for 10-15 minutes or more and see your athlete in context of a game, match, etc. Don’t be concerned with making this a professional production. The coach is looking beyond that. It doesn’t help to spend a lot of money on a fancy finished product.
TEN: What is the NCAA Clearinghouse? It is now known as the NCAA Eligibility Center. The NCAA state, “College-bound student-athletes preparing to enroll in a Division I or Division II school need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center to ensure they have met amateurism standards and are academically prepared for college coursework.” This should be done at the start of the athlete’s junior year in high school.
If you’re ready to step up your recruiting efforts in 2016, I’d like to help. Review the Premium Member resources, discounted through January 5. If you’re not ready for that, then keep coming back here for fresh content every week. And be sure to go through my Recruiting Mini-Course.