Pursuing a college degree takes a tremendous amount of time, energy and money. But what if you could avoid the painstaking process of paying thousands of dollars for tuition every semester? Every year thousands of athletically and academically gifted individuals are privileged to receive full-ride scholarships for their excellence in the classroom and on the field. With a full ride scholarship all your college costs are taken care of. Instead of worrying about how you’re going to pay for your bills next month, you can focus on excelling for a difficult exam or an important game. I was fortunate enough to receive 2 full-ride athletic scholarships during my 5 years of playing college soccer. Having said that, obtaining a full-ride scholarship can be a daunting task. There are a limited number that are given to student/athletes every year which makes full-rides extremely competitive. But with correct planning and some serious determination, you too could be one of the lucky few to get a full-ride scholarship. Here are 3 tips to increase your chances of getting college paid for.
1. Learn How to Market Yourself
The #1 thing you can do to better your chances of being offered a full-ride scholarship is to be able to properly market yourself. You are competing against thousands of other college prospects who want the exact same thing as you do. The individual who understands how to sell himself/herself as a person will greatly standout in the midst of other potential candidates. Formulate your pitch like you would if you were going to sell anything else, but take pride in how you interact with coaches and schools as you’re not just selling a product, you’re selling yourself as a person. Be confident. Be honest. Be yourself. Act professional.
2. Get Your Name Out There
The biggest reason why your name is not being spoken or talked about in the college soccer world is because, (1) You live in an isolated location (2) You’re not good enough (3) You lack sufficient resources. All 3 of these things could be perceived as excuses as to why you are not receiving full-ride offer(s), but for the sake of this article we’ll consider them valid excuses. I traveled 2 hours every day to practice when I was 16 years old to play for a prestigious soccer academy. My parents would sacrifice a good portion of their afternoon to shuttle me back and forth from home to training. What my parents did for me would not be realistic for some families and some players would be forced to travel even further for sufficient training. The motto I have always lived by is, “do what you have to do, to do what you want to do”. If you truly want a full-ride scholarship, you’ll do what it takes to make your goal a realistic possibility. If that means working 2 jobs to pay for gas, training, tournament fees, etc., then you’ll embrace that challenge with open arms because you know that’s what it’s going to take to achieve greatness. Once you accept that for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction, you’ll find solutions for your problems instead of excuses.
3. Excel Athletically/Academically
This is the simplest tip, but also the hardest (confusing I know): Full-rides aren’t given to the individuals who have the best spirit or biggest heart. Your college isn’t paid for if you’re the hardest worker or possess the greatest amount of knowledge. Few schools care about those qualities. You qualify for a full-ride scholarship if the school/coach deems your talent worth a full-ride. Nothing more. Nothing less. Every coach and school has something they’re looking for in an athlete/student and it’s your job to find out what that something is. The faster you can market yourself and find out what these individuals are looking for, the better prepared you’ll be to make the necessary changes in order to standout.
The individuals who have the motivation, desire and drive to train, study and grind from day 1 are the people who are offered full-ride scholarships. Success doesn’t happen overnight and obtaining a scholarship is no different. Learn how to market yourself. Get your name out there. Develop the mindset to be the best both in the classroom and on the field and you will have set yourself up for an incredibly bright future.