Getting a scholarship can be one of the best things you do during your formative years. A sports scholarship can give you a head start on a career in athletics and helps cover your student expenses. However, getting a scholarship can be a pretty daunting experience, particularly if you’ve never applied for one and don’t have much knowledge in this field. To help you out, below are seven tips for applying for a sports scholarship in the Atlanta area.
What are Sports Scholarships?
An athletic scholarship is a financial aid that a college or university awards to a student who has skills that would be valuable for the team. Two common examples are NCAA and NAIA sports scholarships. There are both full and partial; some teams offer full scholarships, while others offer them to a certain number of players on a team. Furthermore, some full scholarships can be divided into partial ones and divvied up to several students.
Tip #1: Connect with Coaches
When looking for a scholarship, it’s important to find someone well established in your chosen sport, such as track and field. A well-respected coach can offer support and put in a good word for you. Furthermore, if that coach is working at the university you wish to apply to, that can help increase the chances of creating the best scholarship application possible.
To connect you with those who can help you get sports scholarships, create a profile online that gets the attention of top schools in Atlanta. It can be a great way for you to make some amazing connections and get your resume in front of someone who thinks you’re a great fit for their scholarship.
Tip #2: Start Looking Early
One of the most common reasons that students fail to get a scholarship in Atlanta and elsewhere is missed deadlines. This happens because they left it to the last minute.
If you’re planning to go to college and would like a good scholarship, you need to start looking early and get all your information prepared well in advance. Plus, then you will have more opportunity to be able to work on anything that a certain coach might say you need to get better at, such as shooting and passing in basketball.
Tip #3: Take Your SATs in Time
Once again, the earlier you start preparing, the more chances you’ve got of getting things right. If you’re looking to get a sports scholarship, what you need to know is that Atlanta-based coaches begin preparing their teams early on, and for that, they need to know your SAT score, so that they can work with that.
Taking your SATs early also means that if you get a score you don’t like, you have the chance to improve it. If you leave the exams to the last minute, though, you risk getting stuck with that one result, which might be unfavorable.
Tip #4: Prepare to Record Your Performance
Scholarships for certain sports, like hockey or football, ask you to send in a compilation video of your best games to help prove your merit. So, you need to start recording these games.
The more games you get, the more material you’ll have to choose from when you prepare your admission video. Also, use an HD video camera, if possible. If you don’t have one, then ask a friend if you can borrow theirs as it will help your footage look professional and showcase you in the best light possible.
Tip #5: Ask for a Recommendation Letter
As we mentioned earlier, the support of a well-respected sports coach can really cement your application for a scholarship.
So, reach out to one of your teachers or mentors and see if they’d be willing to write a recommendation for you. It’s one thing if you say you’re good, and it means a lot more if an authority figure in the field agrees with you. If you’re not sure who to choose, think about someone who can speak to your ability to lead, as well as explaining you are a team player and a hard worker.
Tip #6: Look at What’s a Good Fit
Also take the time to be strategic about which scholarships you apply for online. While there are some that sound great, they might not relate to the skills you bring to the table. Furthermore, look at fit rather than size of the scholarship.
A lot of small scholarships could help you a lot with college, rather than looking only at applying for a large one and then risking not getting it. If you spread out your chances by applying for several opportunities, even if they are smaller ones, then you improve the odds that you will get accepted.
Tip #7: Put Together Your Resume
While getting a strong resume isn’t the most fun thing in the world, it’s essential for applying to Atlanta colleges for a sports scholarship. You want to show coaches that you would be an asset to their team, so take the time to create a CV that showcases your talents.
Many student-athletes choose to use a behavioral resume that focuses on accomplishments and characteristics, and that’s a wise choice for you too if you don’t have a lot of work experience. While you are lacking in the job field, you need to show that you have a lot of potential.
Also, include a cover letter with each application and customize it to the coach. As mentioned, your videos will accompany these written documents.
Final Words on Getting a Sports Scholarship
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get into any Atlanta school you like and pursue the career of your dreams. But, as with all sports, you need to start training early on to get the best result!
When you get a sports scholarship, you are well on your way to a career in the sport of interest to you. Look forward to improving your skills, meeting new people, and having a well-rounded college experience.