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4 College Athletic Scholarship Myths

If you’re a parent or student looking to secure scholarship money for college, you might have read several recent articles about the difficulty of securing an athletic scholarship, such as this one in the Chronicle of Higher Education: The Myth of the Sports Scholarship.

As the Director of College Counseling at Cheshire Academy, there are several myths about athletic scholarships for college that I try to dispel:

Myth #1: Athletic Scholarships are the Most Common College Scholarships

In actuality, 70% of students earning college scholarships earn them for academic reasons. Many colleges offer scholarships for maintaining a specific GPA, while others award merit scholarships upon admission based on academic aptitude. In contrast, only 2% of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships.

Myth #2: Athletic Scholarships are Easiest to Obtain

Athletic scholarships are anything but easy to obtain. Many athletes who secure scholarships for sports dedicate thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to their sport before even being considered for college. If a student has a passion for a sport I would certainly encourage any parent to nurture that passion; however, when thinking about scholarship money for college, putting time or money into studying academics or hiring a tutor can also have a great payoff and may require the same amount of work.

Myth #3: All Division 1 Scholarships cover the full cost of attendance

The reality is that the majority of athletic scholarships awarded each year are only partial scholarships. The big exceptions are men’s and women’s basketball and football.  Basketball and football are considered revenue generating sports (although most college programs do not make money, but that’s another blog topic!) and the revenue that is raised helps to offset the cost of a full scholarship. The vast majority of other Division 1 Scholarship athletes are earning partial scholarships that are hopefully paired with academic scholarships to reduce the total cost of attendance. If you do receive a partial athletic scholarship, here are some tips for making a decision.

Myth #4: A scholarship offer guarantees admission to the college

Many student athletes concentrate heavily developing their craft in the athletic arena. They assume that once that offer of scholarship comes their way, everything is all set. Not true.  While college coaches work closely with their respective admission offices to show support for student athletes, the admission office ultimately has the final say. The admission office can and does overrule a coach's request if the student does not meet the admission criteria of the college or university, which is why every student should also make sure their academics are up to par, no matter their athletic ability.

These are just four of the many myths about college athletic scholarships in particular, and college scholarships in general. At Cheshire Academy, we work with students at every stage in the college application process to help dispel these kinds of myths and explain the college admission process. If you’re interested in learning more, please submit a detailed inquiry form

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Daniel Monahan

Written by Daniel Monahan

After a successful career in college admissions, Mr. Monahan joined Cheshire Academy in 2014 as the Associate Director of College Counseling. As a member of the college counseling staff, he is building on his extensive experiences in college admissions, having served two different colleges as their dean of admission. His expertise in the field of college admission helps to enable our students to find the right fit for them in their college search.

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