Pursuing a passion is often the easiest way to ensure that one will reach all of their goals. The reason why is that people who enjoy what they do are much less likely to experience burnout and start resenting their profession. A great example of this concept would be the millions of athletes from around the world that have turned their amateur endeavors into full-time, professional careers. Examples include football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and many other players who are lucky enough to use their talents and earn a sizeable income.
To get to this stage, however, one has to overcome a ton of competition. After all, if everyone who plays sports could do it professionally, the market would become oversaturated so fast that the entire industry would collapse. Luckily, individuals who are willing to put the time in and possess the natural skills that the recruiters are looking for have a good shot at making it. So, what is one common way for them to maximize their odds from an early age? Look for college scholarships based on sports and continue playing while attending a higher education institution.
Do Some Preliminary Planning
Although most athletes are primarily concerned with finding a college that will provide them with a scholarship based on their talents in sports, it is good to have a basic idea of where one wants to go. For instance, pinpointing a specific university and solely focusing on it would be a mistake. Rather than taking this approach, students should focus on things like particular states, college sizes, coaches, and so on. Doing so will make it much easier to decide where their attention should be and properly prioritize since all colleges will have an intense application process that could involve a series of interviews or application fees.
Maintain a Strong Academic Record
As important as it is to show the recruiters how well someone can play whatever sport they are involved with, the transcripts also matter. Of course, it is not mandatory to have a perfect 4.00 GPA to be considered. Nevertheless, staying at a decent threshold that shows colleges how one can successfully juggle various responsibilities will increase the odds of acceptance. In turn, the acceptance is very likely going to come with scholarships since U.S.-based universities have a long-lasting tradition of college sports and want to recruit the best of the best.
According to a successful real estate investor who attended college on a baseball scholarship, Ryan Tevepaugh, a crucial part of the recruitment process revolves around communication with the recruiter and coaches. And rightly so. After all, it would be difficult to make a definitive decision on where one would like to spend the next few years of their life without getting in touch with the program leaders. Similarly, college coaches need to get to know the student well enough before they can enter into financial obligations and give them scholarships.
To that end, it is natural to expect this entire process to be filled with constant conversations with people who one may or may not know. Expectedly, the more time that the athlete spends practicing their elevator speech and mastering the art of casual communication, the more likely they are to impress the recruiters.
One of the most popular ways to get recognition is to attend some of the innumerable camps that are organized for prospective college athletes around the nation. Although football players have the most opportunities in this area, the NCAA is pushing for other sports to offer the same chances to athletes. Thus, there should be no shortage of summer showcases where someone’s talents and hard work can be presented to those who will make decisions about potential scholarships. Ryan Tevepaugh also cites this as a great opportunity to get to know some of the coaches and practice being communicative enough to get them to like you.
Figure Out the Financial Aid Packages
After the acceptance letters and scholarship offers start coming in, it is incredibly important to know exactly how much money one will need. To accurately predict this, the student should also apply for federal financial aid like FAFSA. Failing to do so will quite literally mean that they are leaving money on the table instead of utilizing it to pay for tuition and fees. Additionally, having some federal aid will reduce the scholarship amount that the student needs. Thus, they may be able to go to schools where the scholarships are not as high if they can cover the rest of the costs with government-backed resources. In other words, they will have a lot more options that could mean a higher chance of becoming a professional athlete one day.