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2 Reasons Not to Hang Your Hopes on Athletic Scholarships

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I read an interesting article today about the drawbacks to athletic scholarships.

I know not everyone can be a star athlete. But if you really excel at football, cheerleading, soccer, softball or some other team or individual sport, it seems like going for an athletic scholarship might be a great way to pay for college, right?

Wrong. At least according to the stats I read at US News & World Report. If you are thinking about winning a full-ride based on your ball playing abilities, I’d suggest you not pin all your hopes on that dream.

1. Your chances aren’t good.

According to US News, there are approximately 19,500 football scholarships to Division I and Division II schools. Yet more than one million American high schoolers play football. Track and field offers just 4,500 scholarships nationwide — not very good odds for the 600,000+ high school girls that compete in it.  No matter what sport you choose, the chances are equally slim that you will actually be one of the golden few chosen.

2. Even if you do win a sports scholarship, the money probably won’t cover all your costs.

In fact, it might barely cover any of it. There are only four sports that offer full rides to college: men’s football, men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball. The average scholarship value, when you exclude men’s football and basketball, is just $8,700. That’s not enough to cover tuition for one year at most schools, let alone all four years!

Part of the reason funds are so limited is that schools are told how many scholarships they can offer by the NCAA. In order to squeeze maximum value out of the money, many coaches will split that pot between more and more players to lure as many as possible into coming to their program. Instead of four or five women’s soccer players getting top awards, the money is routinely divided amongst the whole team.

If you are looking for a safer bet to scholarships, I suggest you look at non-athletic opportunities. Every Friday, I tell you about some of the best choices with upcoming deadlines. But you can also run your own search on a free scholarship search engine. Good luck in your quest for free money for school!

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