College Scholarship Strategy for Athletes

College Admissions, Extracurricular Activities, Scholarships
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If you are trying to decide what sport to focus on in high school, something you may consider is the possibility of earning significant scholarship dollars.  You may think this is only possible if you are a top recruit in football or basketball and are planning on going to a division one school.  As I have learned over the years, this is far from the case.  Colleges will find “academic” money for students if they will help contribute to the athletic program. 

What colleges do this?  Predominantly smaller Division 2 and Division 3 schools.  They want to field competitive teams, but they can’t offer athletic scholarships directly.  So, they routinely find ways to make it possible for athletes to secure half or more of their tuition through other means.  I have worked with dozens of students who have been applying for such scholarships over the years. 

How can you put yourself in a position to earn such scholarships?  Playing non-mainstream niche sports really helps.  Here are some of the big ones to think about that have opened doors for my students at small liberal-arts schools, many of them on the East Coast:

  • Lacrosse
  • Field Hockey
  • Crew
  • Squash
  • Rubgy

If you are excellent at a sport like one of these, there will be tons of small colleges that would love to have you as a student, and they will make it worth your while to do so. 

I hope you have found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with your friends.  Thanks, Brian Stewart

Starting a Club or Activity in 4 Steps

Extracurricular Activities
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Step 1:  Get an idea for a club or activityI have over 300 suggestions for you right here:


Step 2:  Determine how your club will be structured. 

You will need to decide how “official” you want your club to be.  If the teachers and administration at your school are really helpful and willing to volunteer their time, that is fantastic and you should take advantage.  If not, you may have to look elsewhere.  Here are four options for you:

1.       Through School.  Put together a well-organized club proposal and speak with your school administrator or a teacher you know well.  School administrators have a good sense of which teachers may be open to advising a club, and they will have access to any school funds that may help you get started. 

2.       Through Church, Community Organization or Local Business.  If the school isn’t able or willing to help you start your club or activity, go into the community.  Churches are always willing to put together volunteer groups and can provide ample meeting space that is usually available.  Local business groups and community organizations (like the Rotary or Kiwanis clubs) may also have people able to help advise you and provide you with meeting space. 

3.       Through a Parent or Relative.  You can host meetings at your home or perhaps at your parent’s place of work.  If you have a relative who has expertise in the area in which you are starting your club or activity, that’s even better.  

4.       Do it yourself.  If you cannot find anyone to advise it, take matters into your own hands.  If no one wants to formally “advise” your club, perhaps your school will allow you to meet in a common area like the cafeteria where adults would be nearby.  Go to a local restaurant, library or coffee shop.  Or, hold virtual meetings through facebook or google hangouts. 

Step 3:  Get Members.

If the sheer enthusiasm for your club or activity is not enough to encourage others to join, you can convince others to join your club by helping them accomplish their own goals.  You can also cast a very wide net to spread the word about your organization. 

  • Share the power.  You will be far more persuasive in encouraging others to join if you make them “co-founders” or officers.  
  • Provide Service Hour Opportunities.  Many schools have community service hour requirements, so make your club/activity something that will help people do these.  If your school doesn’t have this requirement, tell potential members that it will look good on a college application to have a certain number of hours of involvement in a club start-up. 
  • Go Virtual!  If you cannot find members for your club at your school, open up the doors to club membership to anyone around the world!  This is a great way to go if you have a highly specialized niche for what you want to do, since it will allow you to find others who share your highly specialized interests. 
  • Tap into social media.  With little to no money and time, you can start a website, blog, facebook page, and/or twitter account to spread the word about your site. 
  • Tap into existing free and low-cost media.  If your school won’t recognize your club officially, perhaps they will allow you to put posters in the school and advertise it on the school announcements/email/website.  You can also ask teachers to mention it in class, or ask for a bit of class time to share your club idea with fellow students.  Or, go to an existing club’s meeting and mention it to the club members (just don’t cannibalize their club membership with your startup!)    

Step 4:  Use what’s already out there!    

There is no need to start a club completely from scratch – many people have done it before.  Here are three awesome places to go to help take your club to the next level:

  1.  They have all the forms and infrastructure you need to make your club super-official in no time flat. 
  2.  If you have more of a charitable interest, this website has all you need to make it happen. 
  3.  If you have more of a creative/inventive/artistic interest for your club or activity, secure funding for it from people all of the world on this site. 

Now you have the inspiration – just put in the perspiration and make it happen. 

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