Sports Scholarships

To be given the chance to obtain a sports scholarship from an institution in the United States of America, the applicant will have to have competed at a high level previously. This means that the individual is more apt for the transition into collegiate, intercollegiate matches and then national competitions, if their sport scholarship application is deemed successful.

Prime time to apply for a sports scholarship in the US would be following graduation from high school or just a couple of years after. There have also been cases of applicants dropping out of UK higher education to pursue their dream of undertaking a sport scholarship in America. Athletes may only compete in college leagues if they are between the ages of 18-24, but if you are older, then the NAIA is where you will be assigned. When saying this, coaches are often more inclined to spur interest in younger prospects as it gives them more time to work with the athletes for a longer set period.

Thus, it is advised to apply for your chosen sport scholarship as early as possible, giving the individual an optimum chance at maintaining the strongest performance, athletically and academically, to achieve a highly regarded degree to then move onto the opportunity of turning professional. Again, reinforcing the fact that to be given the best chance of success in being offered a scholarship, the candidate must try to compete at the best level in their current area, pushing on from local club tournaments to national championships.

College level sports are governed by athletic associations, who make the rules and regs when it comes to sport scholarships and recruitment of student-athletes. If an institution does not hold membership of an athletic association then it is highly unlikely that sports scholarships will be available. As mentioned above, each athletic association has its own eligibility criteria for student-athletes internationally.

  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA): This is the most extensive association with 1,000+ member schools, hosts 450,000+ student athletes and is the most competitive league for sport scholarships and distributes the most funding.
  • The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA): This association deals with around 250 schools, 65,000 student athletes, organises 21 conferences and 26 championships and distributes a great deal of funding in sport scholarships.
  • National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA): This association covers two-year community colleges, deals with 520+ schools in 24 regions and also distributes a great deal of funding in sports scholarships.

There are two types of scholarship that you can receive. One is called a 'full scholarship' and the other is a 'partial scholarship'.  

A full scholarship will mean that the university is paying for all of your tuition, accommodation, food, books and everything related to your sport. At some universities, a full scholarship can signal the investment of almost $400,000 in one, single athlete.  At FirstPoint, one in every four of our athletes will receive a full sport scholarship. 

A partial scholarship is just as it sounds; it is where the university are offering you a deal that will cover some, but not all, of the costs associated with attending the university.  If, for example, a university costs $50,000 and the coach is giving you a sport scholarship worth $45,000, then this is a partial scholarship as there is a $5,000 shortfall that the coach wants you to contribute towards the costs of attending the university.  Most partial scholarships come with the incentive that if you perform well, both on the field and in the classroom, then the coach can reward you with a scholarship increase and cover any costs that you had been contributing towards; thus providing you with a full sport scholarship.

There are also other scholarships that a university can offer (academic scholarships, for example) and these can be combined with a sports scholarship to cover the costs associated with attending a university.  It is worth noting that a scholarship will not cover the costs of your flight to and from the campus (personal travel) or any costs associated with the social aspect of life in America (shopping at mall, cinema, etc).

Sports scholarships that FirstPoint USA offer to you: Soccer, Rugby, Golf, Field Hockey, Rowing, Tennis, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Fencing, American Football, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Skiing, Rifle, Softball, Squash, Swimming, Track and Field, Volleyball, Water Polo, Wrestling.

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