Scholarship 101 – Tips for Negotiating Athletic Scholarships
In many ways, negotiating an athletic scholarship is exactly like negotiating any other type of business deal.
The key to success is convincing the other party that you can offer something they absolutely needs. When it comes to athletic scholarships players must be mindful of what a college coach is looking for and sometimes, this may be more than just talent on the field. These days, college coaches are looking for leaders, academic achievers, and those mature enough to handle the pressure of success.
A program may have something you want or need such as scholarship money and so you must show the program that you poses something they want or need such as athletic and academic talent. The key to successful scholarship negotiation is effectively leveraging the uncommon assets and characteristics you bring to the table as a student-athlete. This helps a program feel comfortable offering you a share of its limited pool of scholarship money.
For more tips on athletic scholarships and college recruiting check out NCSA.
It is also important to remember that schools place a large amount of value on student-athletes who have unique skills other than athletic ability. At Division III and Division I non-scholarship programs, for example, purely athletic scholarships are not offered. Other skills and interests are considered such as playing an instrument, involvement in the performing arts, technical aptitude for editing, building, etc. Together with athletic and academic ability well rounded players can have more success earning a scholarship.
These schools are attracted to athletes, to whom they can offer academic, need-based or, non-need-based scholarships, making performance in the classroom just as valuable as on-the-field talent. Although a schools initial interest may results from athletic talent, a player’s extracurricular and academic talent can open the door to a better scholarship offer. So be sure to make schools aware of special skills and interests during the process of college scholarship negotiation.
The more interest or offers you have received the more valuable and attractive you will appear to coaches. This will put you in a stronger position during the athletic scholarship negotiation process. Be sure that any school in which you are interested is aware that you have received active interest from other schools, and that you have not placed all of your eggs in their basket.
Programs do not want to ˜miss the boat” on a great recruit, and, perhaps more importantly, they don’t want to risk watching you accept an offer from a rival. Don’t be afraid to initiate a friendly bidding war between rival schools vying for your talent. If a school believes that it is your primary or only option, it won’t find it necessary to offer you a particularly generous scholarship.
Make note, these are rough waters and a tactful approach is always warranted. Consider services such as NCSA that can help you get noticed by multiple coaches who may find your talents worthy of an athletic scholarship and help guide you through the process.
Lastly, remember that negotiating college scholarships is not truly complete until both sides have signed on the dotted line. In the scholarship context, this means that a student-athlete must not rely on undocumented or verbal promises from coaches. Always keep your options open until the official signing of the offer has taken place from a school.
Be sure to ask for the scholarship offer in writing, and always know how much time you have to accept the offer.
For more information and help on college recruitment check out NCSA.
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