The myth of a full ride/scholarship throughout the athletic recruiting process

The myth of a full ride/scholarship during the athletic recruiting processA few months back I had a chance to speak with someone who had a relative playing Division I athletics.  He was a freshman at the school and was extremely proud that he was getting this opportunity.  It was one of the newer Division I schools so they were still working hard at competing at that level.  What was interesting in my talks with him about his nephew is that he had to keep telling me about how he was receiving a full ride at the school.

The best part of it was that someone who knew the entire situation that was there while we had this conversation told him in fact that his nephew was not receiving a full ride.  In the sport that he was playing, full rides are extremely rare and something that does happen in many cases, especially for a school that was still trying to find success at the Division I level.  Apparently just saying that your nephew is a Division I athlete is not enough.  Telling people that he was getting a full ride was apparently.

Some may consider telling others that they have a relative with a full ride something to brag about.  But honestly, there really is no point to try and over hype a situation where it just doesn’t exist.  This doesn’t matter if it is stats, honors, accomplishments, or anything else.

The truth is that very few athletes really get full scholarships for athletics.  Outside of Division I-A (BCS) football and Division I basketball, all the other sports can give out partial rides.  The reason that these are only partial scholarships is that these sports have a limited budget.  Even if you were the top wrestler in the country and attended a traditionally dominant school like Iowa, chances are slim that your scholarship would be a full ride.  The same can be said for baseball and so many other sports.

Because full rides are rarely given, what that means is you can do one of three things.  The first is be born to rich parents, which is something you can’t control.  The second is to take out student loans, which I would recommend avoiding if at all possible.  And the third is to have outstanding grades and test scores that can help pay for a big chunk of your college education.

It doesn’t matter what school it is but a strong GPA and ACT/SAT scores will help you get an academic scholarship.  If you are receiving a 50% scholarship athletically, then finding a way to fill the other 50% with academics is a great way to help get your college paid for.

While you may not be able to boast that you (or your nephew) is receiving a full ride for athletics, you will be the one knowing that you won’t be paying a cent for your college education.  Taking the time to work hard in the classroom, study, and do homework is something that will pay off.

Think about it this way.  If you can find a part time job for ten hours a week (forty hours per month) that can pay you $8.00 (which is a lot), over the course of the year you would earn $3,840 (this is of course without the IRS taking a huge chunk out for taxes).  If you worked that job for four years, all year, then you would make $15,360 before taxes.

If you have the option to not work (hopefully your parents can help you and it does depend situation by situation) and instead spend those two hours each night during the school year studying and becoming a better student, it will pay off down the road.  You may not see the instant gratification of working a part time job but if you can maintain a 3.8 GPA and get a 27 on your ACTs, then there is no doubt on my mind that you could be saving yourself over $50,000 over the course of your college education.

Looking at it now, what would be better?  Bringing home a few hundreds a month in spending money for some random things you won’t care about or having a head start on the rest of your life by eliminating or greatly reducing your student loans?

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