Winning Athletic Scholarships or Not

How hard is it to win an athletic scholarship?

It’s darn near impossible. About 2% of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships to play their sports in college. The grim odds, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t parlay your athletic talent into sweet deal from a college.

That’s what I’ve been telling my niece Molly, who is a high school senior and a naturally talented athlete. She has excelled at every sport she has tried including basketball and soccer, but she fell in love with golf during high school.

Without any prior experience, Molly managed to become a varsity player her first year. She’s made it to the state golf finals in Missouri for three years and won three junior PGA tournaments this summer.

Despite her successes, no college coaches have been knocking on her door offering her golf scholarships . And that’s a very typical experience for high school athletes. Parents believe that college coaches are going to discover their teenagers but it rarely happens that way.

Students almost always have to find coaches on their own, which is why I sat down with Molly on Sunday to begin reaching out to small colleges that would represent solid academic matches for her. Sure it’s late for high school seniors to be contacting college coaches, but there is still time for those, who aren’t interested in the big-name Division I schools.

Based on her academic record, I recommended schools in the Midwest that had golf teams including St. Norbert’s, Doane College and Westminster College, as well as Spring Hill College in Alabama, which has welcomed athletes in the past from her private girls’ high school in St. Louis. I had Molly write a short email to the golf coach that included her golf highlights.

Within hours, most of the coaches had emailed Molly back expressing interest and wanting to know more about her. So we advanced to stage II in wooing coaches:  Last night, I showed Molly how to write a sports resume, which all coaches are going to want to see. You can find good examples of sports resumes by Googling. We even found a wonderful sample resume just for golfers.

Molly emailed all the coaches back with her sports resume and she promised to have her high school golf coach send them a recommendation.

While most of the schools that Molly contacted don’t have athletic scholarships, they can give money for such thing as leadership, talent and other abilities. What’s great about these awards is that students don’t lose  them if they  no longer play the sport.

It’s too soon to know where Molly’s last-minute attempt to parlay her golf talent into a college education will lead, but I’m optimistic.

Further Reading:

How to Win a Sports Scholarship

Winning College Scholarships Without Being an Athletic Super Star

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