In our first college planning video, we highlighted advanced placement credits, college selection, and military scholarships. Today we are going to talk about other scholarships: athletic, academic, and community/specialty/employer scholarships.
First of all, let’s talk about something that many athletes dream about: The Full Ride. I hate to burst your bubble, but it is not common at all. First of all, Division 3 schools cannot give athletic scholarships. Likewise, Division 1 and 2 schools are typically limited in how many scholarships they can give out per sport. The reality is that they have far fewer to give than they have athletes. So, even if offered, it is quite common for scholarships to be partial scholarships.
Still, if you can get a partial scholarship to do something you like doing, that’s great. Partial scholarships are still great way to cut down on college costs. One of the key things we learned through our daughter pursuing an athletic scholarship is that the coaches want to communicate with the athlete, and not with the parent. The coach and the athlete are the ones that will be practicing together for 4 years, so they have to develop the relationship.
One dilemma: does the school offering the athletic scholarship have the expertise in your desired major(s)? How about your plan B, what if you change your mind partway through and want to go to a different field of study. It happens, a lot. Another thing to consider is that practice and competition schedules are priority number one, so working to supplement your income may be difficult. Social life can be different if your team practices at 6am most days.
Let’s move on to Academic Scholarships. These are great if you can get them. Basically, you are being rewarded for being a good high school student. Typically there is an application of some sort, with grades, test scores, outside activities such as service hours, and an essay taken into account. In some cases, you can submit one application for multiple scholarships. I am mixed about the benefit of a single application for many scholarships. Yes, you easily applied for several, but so did everybody else, and the money is not unlimited. So you are not ahead. Sometimes your school of choice will offer scholarships to applicants who meet certain criteria. For example, at the University of Alabama, high test scores and a high GPA can earn you full tuition even for out of state students. They are not alone in this.
Lastly, let’s talk about Community, Specialty and Workplace scholarships. These can be scholarships that are available to a more limited number of people. Typically to be eligible, you have to live in a certain area, be going into a certain field of study, maybe be in a certain club or activity, or have parents that are employed by a certain company. A well-known example of what I call a specialty scholarship is the Evans Scholar program for golf caddies. As far as workplace scholarships, in our area I am aware of several large employers that give scholarships of $500 to $1,000 a year for children of employees. These are not well advertised, and sometimes you have to actively search for them. The nice thing about these types of scholarships is that far fewer people apply for them, so your odds of being awarded the scholarship go up dramatically.
Best of luck with scholarships. Next time we are going to talk about financial need programs and FAFSA, along with work studies and student loans.
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