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Betting on a sports scholarship to pay for kids' college? Don't

Dave_BerryDave_Berry 492 replies2744 threadsCC Admissions Expert CC Admissions Expert
"- 20% of U.S. parents with kids in sports programs expect them to win a college athletics scholarship, TD Ameritrade found in a recent study.
- Many parents also tap their retirement savings, work overtime or even raid college funds to pay for coaching fees, equipment and other expenses that can easily add up to $500 a month.
- Statistics shows that only 11% of young people got sports scholarships to attend college in 2019." ...

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Replies to: Betting on a sports scholarship to pay for kids' college? Don't

  • GKUnionGKUnion 328 replies10 threads Member
    I’d be interested to know how many CCers that post on this particular forum have children who earned a scholarship.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23699 replies17 threads Senior Member
    My kid got an athletic scholarship which she could (and did) combine with a merit scholarship. Her school had 3 levels of merit, and she got the middle level. Anyone who was in robotic or when to a STEM high school was guaranteed the lowest level of merit, but you couldn't get that level for a robotics merit and another merit based on stats.

    Now they do it a little differently ad there is a small scholarship of $2500 for the robotics, STEM, eagle scout, etc, and then the student also gets a merit award based just on stats. Can still stack an athletic scholarship with one of the smaller awards.

    I had my eyes on golf caddy scholarships for my kids. They, sadly, didn't cooperate by becoming caddies.
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  • Smileyface1Smileyface1 33 replies1 threads Junior Member

    Couldn’t agree more! My daughter got a 36 ACT, and my in-laws think the merit money is falling from the sky for her to go to Stanford. She’s working the sports angle at high end schools, but she won’t be getting any merit money, her reward is getting into a T20 school and we still get to be full pay.
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  • recruitparentrecruitparent 63 replies2 threads Junior Member
    CCer that have had children that were recruited and could have earned an athletic scholarship of some form but they picked the school based on academics and fit. In those cases the athletics helped them get into the school.
    Athletics & recruiting can help you get into a school though athletes/students earning athletics scholarships are often overstated and exaggerated by parents especially by the word of mouth that gets spread about by other parents.
    I have had numerous people tell me about someone going to an Ivy for a full ride based on athletics disguised as merit (not possible at an Ivy) or a D2 or even D3 giving a full ride for track because they really wanted their son/grandson/friends kids...who was a slightly above average HS Athlete.
    Many parents do not understand how scholarships work, that some sports programs are not full funded and that recruited does not always mean athletic scholarship or depending on the sport it may be a smaller partial scholarship.
    However, if you are a very good athlete and a top student academically, it can open some doors and provide a lot of good options to choose from.
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  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase 549 replies3 threads Member
    This subject has been discussed previously. And, despite being openly discussed for years, the scholarship myth persists. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/10/sports/10scholarships.html. Overall, there are more dollars available for academic scholarships. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703824304575435340724917622. On this data, it could be argued that tutors would be a better spend than private athletic trainers.

    That said, these are overall numbers. An athlete getting an athletic scholarship has to be both good and lucky. A student getting an academic/merit scholarship has to be good, and often have the stats above the mean in able to qualify. For example, a student with a 36 ACT and equivalent GPA probably could get a very hefty academic scholarship to a college or university -- but it would not be to an elite academic institution where students with that ACT score are being turned away.

    Being a good student and good athlete, however, absolutely does open doors, as suggested by @recruit parent -- both in college admissions and after college.
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  • goddess00goddess00 15 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2019
    It is much more likely that athletics opens doors to better schools than it amounts to a ton of money unless it is football, basketball or baseball at a D1 powerhouse. Conversely women are more likely to get full rides in sports like rowing due to title IX (depending on the school of course). Ivies dont have scholarships or merit. It is all FA. So when you hear full ride at an Iv, that means full financial aid. Some schools --including Ivies--have money slotted for very specific students like Princeton had endowed scholarships at one point for certain boarding schools.
    edited May 2019
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  • SATXMom2SATXMom2 49 replies1 threads Junior Member
    hahaha... i bet that number is way higher among NON-CC members. DS22 plays on a high level soccer team.. most of the parents are delusional. DS has a 4.0 and has gotten some invites to camps (all D1 schools can do at this time). We have no illusions about his "odds" For boys there are only about 90 or so D1 soccer programs.. for girls around 400. DS's odds are not good and we don't have any intention of pursuing it. We might consider a D3 program IF he decides he'd like to continue playing.

    That said 90% of our team parents believe their sons will play in college (despite not having great grades). But you can't tell those parents anything... little johnny's future is bright.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12692 replies29 threads Senior Member
    "An athlete getting an athletic scholarship has to be both good and lucky."

    I don't get this statement. There's projection involved in recruiting, but not much luck.
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 1097 replies16 threads Senior Member
    That number seems incredibly low for my daughter’s sport, gymnastics, where every parent of a child who can do a handstand or a backflip seems to think they’re destined for D1- at least for awhile. There are too many coaches that perpetuate the craziness too. My favorite part of my not-NCAA-caliber gymnast heading to college is that club gymnastics is basically free. After years of such an expensive sport I’m just happy she can continue for the love of it without sinking all her money into it!
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  • PublisherPublisher 9158 replies111 threads Senior Member
    While betting on a sports scholarship may be unwise in most situations, sports accomplishments do help with getting admitted to many colleges & universities which do not offer sports scholarships.
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  • amom2girlsamom2girls 481 replies8 threads Member
    Not an athlete, but my daughter received merit scholarships for dance. She received the 2nd largest merit scholarship for her dance BFA and was admitted to Rutgers Honors College. This is all based on her dance audition. Her grades are fine but not merit scholarship level for the programs that she was admitted to.
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  • PublisherPublisher 9158 replies111 threads Senior Member
    Interesting that dance is considered a talent & not a sport--same for those with musical ability. Probably because there is no scorekeeping & no clearly defined winner or loser.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8435 replies72 threads Senior Member
    There are plenty of music and dance competitions where there are winners/losers.

    Our experience was that good students saw much more scholarship money than athletes, other than the very tippy top. The athletes who did get big $ tended to go to lesser known regional schools. I agree that having both the grades and the athletic ability is a boost to overall admission.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1805 replies18 threads Senior Member
    "There are more of us whose progeny leveraged their athletic gifts into admission at top end academic schools."

    Or into academic merit scholarships. Her dance background definitely helped my D to gain her scholarship because the selection committee were looking for a variety of backgrounds and majors (for their cohort of 30 students) and a ballet BFA student hadn't won the scholarship in the past. And she wouldn't have even considered applying there if it hadn't been for their top notch dance program.
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1494 replies8 threads Senior Member
    Unless you are a truly remarkable athlete, luck is pretty important especially for team sports. There are many, many athletes that are recruitable at the various levels and have the athletic stat's and recognition. Coaches in the recruiting process have limited opportunity to watch recruits in person and for the "average" recruitable athlete, exposure will be at some camp, showcase, or tournament where coaches are watching sometimes hundreds of prospects, if not dozens. Athletes have good days and bad days. The coaches may be watching you when you make that exceptional play (or when you boot something routine) or they may be off somewhere else watching another group.
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  • anon145anon145 610 replies7 threads Member
    20% expected scholarship versus 11% getting some level of scholarship is probably the least delusional thing I've seen in college applications or on CC. the 40,000 unhooked kids applying for 400 unhooked slots at Harvard and other T20s seems far more delusional than athletic scholarship chasing based on that stat.

    Also, for affluent sports (lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, cross country, etc...) very very few kids (or more likely their parents) are going to let their kids apply to bottom academic D1s just to chase a fractional scholarship. For the team sport I'm most aware of (WSoc) almost no one gets a full scholarship (even at T10 sports schools), and many lower D1 schools have no scholarships or well below NCAA limits (e.g. 3 of 14 for Wsoc; e.g. Davidson) so athletic scholarships are not expected even for the best players that go to those poorly supported D1 schools. Finally, some of the bottom D1 sports are actually worse than top D3 in terms of quality.
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