U.S. News & World Report notes that there are only 138,000 athletic scholarships available for Division I and II sports, which sounds like a lot but doesn’t come out to that much when you think about how many students around the nation compete for such scholarships.
With that said, if you are talented in a sport like volleyball, it’s definitely worth a shot to try for a volleyball scholarship. If you’re interested in a scholarship to play volleyball in college, use these six tips to land one:
1. Choose Schools Wisely
Obviously, the first step to getting a scholarship from your school of choice is to decide what schools you want to go to. Do some research on the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) website to see which schools offer volleyball scholarships, and then research the individual schools in which you’re interested. Of course, you not only want to check out the schools’ volleyball programs, but you’ll also want to look at academic programs. List several different schools that offer volleyball programs and that offer solid academic programs in your area of interest.
2. Get in Contact
Don’t wait for schools you’re interested in to magically find you. Instead, get into contact with coaches and introduce yourself. Once you’ve created a resume and added some videos of your volleyball performances to YouTube, send an email to the coaches of the schools in which you’re interested to let them know you are interested in their programs. Most coaches will at least email you back, even if they aren’t interested, and those who may be interested will now know that you exist!
3. Upload to YouTube
YouTube is a powerful networking tool for high school volleyball players and any other athletes seeking athletic scholarships. It may be worth your while to pay a professional (or even a fellow student who is great with video editing programs) to compile a five to seven minute video of clips from your best volleyball games. Coaches are more likely to watch videos on YouTube through an email link, as it takes less time to watch videos online than it does to pull a DVD off the desk and watch it. Plus, your YouTube video may actually connect you with interested coaches you hadn’t thought of before.
4. Keep Your Grades Up
The average athletic scholarship for sports outside of men’s football and basketball is only about $8,700. While that sounds like a lot, it’s really not when put it into perspective against the rising costs of college. By keeping your grades up, you’ll make yourself more attractive to college volleyball coaches and put yourself in a position to earn some academic merit scholarships as well. College volleyball players have to be up for long hours of practice and traveling tournaments while maintaining good grades, so showing that you can do that now while you’re in high school is essential.
5. Attend Games and Tournaments
Once you have a few prospective volleyball programs in mind, set up a campus tour on a day that there is a volleyball game or tournament. Schedule some face time with the coach. If the school offers a volleyball camp, try to attend, since this can allow the coach to see you in action and can dramatically increase your odds of being offered a volleyball scholarship.
6. Create a Resume
Trying to land a volleyball scholarship for college is similar to trying to land a job. A resume that details your accomplishments in volleyball and in school can be immensely helpful in giving coaches an overview of your background and accomplishments. Your volleyball resume should include your standing reach, jump touch, approach jump, club experience, volleyball and other awards, details about other sports you play, academic and community awards, references, and GPA. You can attach this and a link to your YouTube video to emails that you send to college volleyball coaches.
Other Ways to Manage Money for College
While you may get a college volleyball scholarship, don’t pin all your hopes on this. Be sure you understand other ways to fund your college career, including the following:
- Look at academic and other merit scholarships also. Apply for every single scholarship you can, so that if you don’t earn a volleyball scholarship, you’ll be likely to have at least some money coming in.
- Check out Division III schools. Although Division III schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, they can offer merit scholarships for athletics, academics, and other accomplishments. Oftentimes, these scholarships can take care of up to half the overall cost of your college education.
- Understand student loans. It’s easy to look at student loans as free money, but remember, you’ll have to pay back all that money in the long run. Before you sign on the dotted line, get all the information you can about interest rates, repayment, and minimum payments for when you get out of college.
- Check out the best credit cards for college students. While graduating with student loans and a load of credit card debt isn’t ideal, credit cards can help you pay for the basics during school, especially if you can’t work during the school year. Be sure you get the best possible interest rate, and try to keep your balance as low as possible so that you don’t get stuck paying lots of extra fees and charges.
- Look at student work opportunities. Work-study opportunities and even off-campus jobs may be available near your college of choice. Work-study can be a great opportunity to learn valuable hands-on job skills, especially if you can work with a professor in your area of study. Work of any sort can be wonderful for earning a little extra for your tuition or simply for paying for the essentials you need while you’re in school.
Earning a volleyball scholarship for college may be ideal, and if you have talent and dedication you might be able to get money towards your college education and play volleyball while in school. These tips will not only help you work towards landing a volleyball scholarship, but will also help you learn how to manage your money for college, whether or not you play college volleyball.