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College Sports Recruiting

What Are Academic Scholarships And How Do I Secure Them?

Many student-athletes focus solely on athletic scholarships, but academic scholarships can also play a significant role in funding your college education.

Written by

Lars Blenckers

What are academic scholarships?

An academic scholarship is a financial award given to students based on their academic achievements and performance. These scholarships are typically awarded by educational institutions, private organizations, companies, or government agencies to support and encourage students in pursuing higher education.

Academic scholarships are a way to recognize and reward students who have demonstrated exceptional dedication, commitment, and excellence in their academic pursuits. Many students seek an academic scholarship because the cost of university in America is extremely high.

Types of academic scholarships

GPA-based scholarships 

These scholarships are awarded based on a student's grade point average (GPA). Typically, students with a high GPA are more likely to qualify for these scholarships. 

Test score-based scholarships

Scholarships that are based on test scores like the SAT or ACT. 

Merit-based scholarships 

These scholarships take into account a student's overall academic record and achievements

Need-based scholarships

These scholarships are awarded based on financial need. They are intended to help students who may not be able to afford college otherwise.

Academic Scholarships Example at Syracuse University
Academic Scholarships Example at Syracuse University

How do I qualify for academic scholarships?

GPA-based scholarships

To qualify for a GPA-based scholarship, you'll need to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA). This requirement varies depending on the scholarship but typically ranges from 3.0 to 4.0.

Additionally, some scholarships may have a minimum number of credit hours or classes are taken. To boost your chances of qualifying for a GPA-based scholarship, it's essential to focus on maintaining a high GPA and taking challenging classes.

Test score based scholarships 

These are scholarships that are based on test scores like the SAT or ACT. To qualify for a test score-based scholarship, you'll need to achieve a specific score on the required test.

This requirement varies depending on the scholarship but typically ranges from 1200 to 1600. To boost your chances of qualifying for a test score-based scholarship, it's important to prepare well for the test and aim for a high score.

Merit-based scholarships

You'll need to demonstrate overall academic achievement and potential to qualify for a merit-based scholarship. This might include a high GPA, high test scores, a strong record of extracurricular activities, and/or strong leadership skills.

Additionally, some scholarships may require a personal essay or an interview. To boost your chances of qualifying for a merit-based scholarship, it's crucial to maintain a solid academic record and showcase your talents and achievements.

Need-based scholarships

Need-based scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need and are intended to help students who may not be able to afford college otherwise.

For example, Ivy League schools are among the most prestigious and expensive colleges in the United States. They often have generous financial aid programs that can include need-based scholarships to help cover the costs of attendance for students from lower-income backgrounds. 

*Note that Ivy League schools are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships.

Take a look at examples of academic scholarships at a school like Hofstra University.

Why are academic scholarships so important?

Academic scholarships are so important because they can significantly lower the cost of a college education. Full athletic scholarships are relatively rare, with only a small percentage of college athletes receiving them.

As a result, most student-athletes will have to find other ways to pay for college, and academic scholarships can be a crucial funding source.

How does academic excellence improve my chances of getting recruited?

Qualifying for academic scholarships can make you more recruitable as a student-athlete for several reasons. 

First and foremost, coaches are looking for high-achieving academic students to join their teams. When a student-athlete qualifies for an academic scholarship, it can make the total scholarship package more attractive for the student-athlete to play at their college. This can help coaches to attract top talent to their program.

Secondly, the university often rewards coaches for having a high-achieving academic sports team. Therefore, coaches are more likely to actively recruit student-athletes who have demonstrated academic excellence, as it can benefit both the student-athlete and the program.

academic scholarships and college recruitment

+31 Sports

At +31 Sports, we understand the importance of academic scholarships for student-athletes and the role they play in funding a college education. 

We can help you evaluate if you qualify for academic scholarships and guide you in the right direction. 

With our help, you can increase your chances of earning an academic scholarship and take the first step towards achieving your dream of playing college sports while having your education funded.

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