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Best Athletic Scholarships for 2024 [With Application Tips] 

Written by Medha Pandey

Updated on: 18 Jan 2024

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Are you a student-athlete looking to pursue higher education and continue your athletic career? Securing a top athletic scholarship can greatly help you achieve that dream. The National Collegiate Athletic Association reports that US Division I and II schools contribute over $3.6 billion to cover the education expenses of over 180,000 student-athletes.

However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the best scholarships for you. Plus, how do you even get an athletic scholarship? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

In this article, we will not only highlight some of the best athletic scholarships available but also provide you with valuable tips on how to increase your chances of receiving one. 

What are athletic scholarships?

An athletic scholarship is a financial aid program for students with exceptional athletic ability and potential to succeed in sports. It helps offset college tuition costs and improves athletic resumes while pursuing a degree. Available in various sports like soccer, archery, swimming, and hockey, tennis scholarships are particularly beneficial for talented players. There are two main categories of sports scholarships: full-ride and partial scholarships.

Full Ride vs. Partial Ride scholarship benefits

Full Ride scholarships

Full-ride scholarships are the type of scholarships that cover almost everything including tuition and fees, books, room and board, supplies, and sometimes also living expenses. Getting a full-ride sports scholarship is a bit challenging. You not only need to be an amazing athlete, but you also need to be in the right sport. 

Schools usually only give these top scholarships to players in well-known sports. So, even if you’re outstanding in another sport, your chances of a full ride might be lower. The six college head count sports that come with the offer of full-ride scholarships are:

  • Football
  • Men’s Basketball
  • Women’s Basketball
  • Women’s gymnastics
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

According to a 2015–2016 National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey, just 0.2% of students received scholarships totaling $25,000 or more. 1.58 million people have received scholarships for a total of $6.1 billion. If one restricts the data to students participating in bachelor’s degree programs, the average amount received by each recipient is $4,202.

Partial scholarships

On the other hand, partial ride scholarships cover 50% or a certain part of your college costs, while you’re responsible for the rest of the expenses.

For example, imagine college costs $20,000 per year. A full-ride scholarship would pay all $20,000, but a partial-ride might only cover $5,000 or $10,000. Furthermore, you’d be responsible for the remaining amount.

The students who don’t play the headcount sports and want to achieve scholarships can go for the partial ride scholarships. In the partial ride scholarship, the money of the amount of the scholarship will be handed to the coach. Now, the coach gets to decide to distribute the amount among the different players, depending on how they play and study. 

Everyone might get the same amount, no matter how good they are. On the other hand, it is also possible that the players who’ve been on the team longer and play better get a bigger amount than newbies.

The sports which come up with the offer of partial ride scholarships are: 

  • Baseball
  • Rifle
  • Skiing
  • Cross-country
  • Track and field
  • Soccer
  • Fencing
  • Swimming
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Ice hockey
  • Field hockey
  • Fencing
  • Rowing
  • Water polo
  • Lacrosse
  • Wrestling

Best Athletic scholarships for school and college students

A student can get an athletic scholarship from his/her school directly. Or they can search for athletic scholarships at colleges or universities from online resources based on their skills and field of interest. 

Here is the list of top athletic scholarships:

1. U.S. Sports Scholarships 

Award Amount 

Offers 50 sport-specific spots annually to ensure every player receives personalized attention in finding a suitable American school with the best financial package.

Eligibility 

  • All high school students from their junior year and senior year can apply for this scholarship. 
  • Besides, students with a minimum GPA are also eligible for this scholarship program.

Deadline 

Depends on upcoming trials. Please see the details.

Click to apply 

2. Athlete Honors Scholarship Program

Award Amount 

Every year the winner from high school students across any part of the country is awarded with the amount of $500.

Eligibility 

  • All high school students from their junior year and senior year can apply for this scholarship. 
  • Students with a minimum GPA are also eligible for this scholarship program.
  • The students applying for this scholarship program must acquire a good knowledge of Visual & Performing Arts and Dance. 

Deadline 

May 1, 2024

Click to apply 

To apply for this scholarship you need to submit a 500-word essay and Letters of Recommendation while filling out the application before the deadline.

🖊️Are you a STEM student with a knack for expressing yourself through words? Check out the Wiingy Future STEM Leaders Scholarship and win up to $1200. Besides, get a chance to get published on Wiingy’s official website! 🏅

3. Heisman High School Scholarship

Award Amount 

This scholarship program will choose 101 high school athlete students and will award them up to $10,000.

Eligibility 

  • This program applies to high school students in their senior year only.
  • The student must hold US citizenship.
  • They must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • During the 2023–2024 academic year, students must be seniors, graduating with the class of 2024.

Deadline 

October 17, 2024

Click to apply 

To apply, visit the homepage of this scholarship program and sign up to create an account.

4. Markus Paul Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is fully sponsored by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for high school seniors planning to pursue sports-related fields in college. 

Award Amount 

The scholarship provides a $5,000 tuition scholarship annually to Black American students preparing to coach in the Strength & Conditioning profession.

Eligibility

  • A current student with Black American heritage must complete the application.
  • Applicant must enroll in a major in Physical Education, Exercise Science, Strength and Conditioning, or similar, to become a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the collegiate or professional level. 
  • The applicant must not be a current member of the NSCA Foundation Board of Directors, Scholarship Committee, or an affiliate employee.

Deadline 

The application starts on August 1, 2024, and continues till Oct 15, 2024.  

Click to apply 

To apply for this scholarship program submit your written essay, Proof of enrollment, Academic transcript, Resume or CV, and Letter of Recommendation while filling in the application details.

Explore more NSCA scholarships

 5. TrophyCentral Sportsmanship Scholarship 

Award Amount 

The winning student will be awarded with the sum of  $1,000.  

Note: The scholarship will be paid directly to the college or university in which the winner is enrolled.

Eligibility

  • The applicant must be a high school student of a public or private school in the US.
  • The student must have a GPA of at least 3.25 out of 4.0 in the junior high school year or the first semester.
  • They must show amazing sportsmanship and start college in September 2024.

Deadline

September 2024

Click to apply 

6. Massachusetts Youth Soccer Scholarship Program

Award Amount 

Two award winners will be announced, one male and one female. They will receive a scholarship of $1,000 each. 

Eligibility

  • The applicant must be a High School senior.
  • The applicant must be a player registered with Massachusetts Youth Soccer for a minimum of two years.
  • The student should be residing in Massachusetts.
  • Often, the task requires a comprehensive essay of no more than 500 words.

Deadline 

June 2024

Click to apply 

 7. Michael Moody Fitness Scholarship

Award Amount 

The winner will get a scholarship of $1,500 which they have to use in the 2024 fall semester. The student may use the scholarship to carry out academic expenses like tuition fees, books, and supplies.

Eligibility

  • The applicant must hold the citizenship of the United States or hold the residence in one of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., or Puerto Rico.
  • They must be a high school student in their senior year, undergraduate, or graduate students.
  • The student must acquire a good knowledge of Athletics, Biology, Behavioral Science, Sports/Exercise Science, Psychology, Healthcare, Dental Health/Services, Pharmacy, Therapy/Rehabilitation, Nursing, Medicine

Deadline 

August 1, 2024

Click to apply 

8. MFMA Scholarship Program

Award Amount 

This program will announce 5 winners who will get a scholarship of $1,250. 

Eligibility

  • The applicant must be a High School senior and College Student.
  • They must be a US citizen or hold permanent citizenship of the country.
  • They must be athletes.
  • The applicant must hold an interest in Environmental Science, Architecture, Engineering, Biology, and Sports Flooring.

Deadline 

July 2024

Click to apply 

9. The BigSun Scholarship 

Award Amount 

The win will be awarded with the sum of $500. 

Eligibility

  • The applicant must be a high school senior or must be attending a post-secondary institute.
  • All senior high-school student-athletes are eligible.

Deadline 

June 19, 2024

Click to apply 

Email a short essay of around 500-1000 words to their official mail account athleticawards@bigsunathletics.com. 

10. Brian Pearson Memorial Scholarship

Award Amount 

A scholarship of $1,000 will be awarded to one male and one female high school student annually.

Eligibility

  • The 2023 scholarship is open to students in their junior or senior year of high school during the 2023-2024 school year. 
  • Students aiming to pursue post-high school education.  

Deadline 

April 1, 2024

Click to apply 

11. The Play Scholarships

Award Amount 

3 awards are available this year and the winner will get the scholarship of $1,500.

Eligibility

  • The contest is open to U.S. residents and requires full-time high school senior enrollment. 
  • It requires one submission per person. Immediate family members of P.L.A.Y. employees are excluded. 

Deadline 

Feb 26, 2024

Click to apply 

12. USBC YOUTH SCHOLARSHIPS

Award amount 

A $6000 scholarship is awarded to the winner based on academic, leadership, and on-lane performances. 

Eligibility

  • The applicant must be a high school or college student.
  • The applicant must be an athlete having experience in bowling.

Deadline 

May 1, 2024

Click to apply  

13. TJC Athletic Scholarships

Award amount 

Varies

Eligibility

  • The applicant must be a full-time high school or college student.
  • The applicant must be an athlete.

Deadline 

Varies. 

Click to Apply

14. BBB Ethical Athlete Scholarship

Award amount 

Up to $2500

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be high school students in Arizona. 
  • They must be participating in AIA-sanctioned school sports. 
  • They must also have a minimum 2.75 GPA to be eligible for this award.

Deadline 

February 29, 2024. 

Click to Apply

15. Dixie Youth Scholarship Program

Award amount 

Varies

Eligibility

  • Applicant must currently be in high school.
  • The type of institution award is open to two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and trade/technical schools.
  • The award is available to citizens of countries other than the U.S. and Canada.

Deadline 

03/01

Click to Apply

⭐Graduating soon? Discover opportunities with the Best Scholarships for High School Seniors.

How to get an athletic scholarship?

There are two main categories of sports scholarships: full-ride and partial-ride. Full-ride scholarships cover almost everything, including tuition, fees, books, room and board, supplies, and living expenses. Partial-ride scholarships cover 50% or a certain part of college costs, while students are responsible for the rest. 

Getting an athletic scholarship can be an exciting journey, but it also takes dedication and planning. Here are some key steps to follow:

1. Create a list of target opportunities

Firstly jot down a list of universities. Afterward, do a proper survey about the requirements of scholarships for student-athletes such as academic performance, athletic talents, eligibility criteria, and other school preferences. Then prepare a list of degree programs according to your preference. 

2. Know the academic requirements  

As mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to know the academic requirements or the eligibility criteria while you’re looking for a scholarship. Gather all the information you need from the official website of the scholarship and go through the sports scholarship information. 

Here are some academic requirements which you need to keep in mind while you’re looking for athletic scholarship:

  • You must possess good athletic skills when you’re looking for athletic scholarship opportunities in your desired sports. 
  • Sometimes being a good athlete is not just enough, you also need to be rigorous in your academic journey. A good GPA is crucial for securing top-notch scholarships. Read How to improve your GPA to find helpful tips on getting a good GPA.
  • Go through the age requirements and the grade level.
  • Some universities might ask you to submit letters of recommendation from your previous coaches while you’re applying for a scholarship.

🏆Achieving academic excellence? Navigate the Best Merit-based scholarships.

3. Attend Summer programs

Participate in the summer camps and showcases whenever you get the opportunity. These activities will help you to know more about the athletic scholarships and you can also connect directly to the college head coaches who visit suddenly to study talented students.

4. Contact Coaches

Reach out to coaches, introducing yourself and expressing interest. Be genuine and concise. They will help you with reachable scholarship suggestions and application guidelines.

5. Prepare for application

Highlight Achievements: Showcase your sports achievements, grades, and any community involvement. Coaches want well-rounded players.

Create a Sports Resume: List your sports experience, awards, and stats. Keep it organized and easy to read.

Make a Skills Video: Film yourself in action. Keep it short and showcase your best moves.

Stay Eligible: Maintain good grades and meet NCAA or other eligibility requirements.

Apply Early: Submit your applications and required documents before the deadlines.

🌞Planning a productive summer? Uncover the Best Scholarships for Summer Programs.

🎗️Pursuing higher education? Read Best Scholarship for College Students.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What school gives the most athletic scholarships?

The following are the top five colleges that have recently awarded the most average sports scholarships per recipient:
Southern Methodist University: $48,544 
Vanderbilt University: $44,645 
University of Miami: $43,982 
Rice University: $43,775 
University of Tulsa: $41,085

What is the easiest athletic scholarship to get?

Baseball, ice hockey, and lacrosse can be the sports where scholarships are most easily obtained, according to RecruitRef. But this is a difficult topic to answer because the most competitive sports also frequently provide the highest scholarship money.
What sport has the highest chance of getting a scholarship?
In comparison with other sports, football might offer the most scholarships. Therefore, the student playing football has the highest chance of getting a scholarship.

What is the hardest athletic scholarship to get?

Wrestling is the hardest athletic scholarship for men whereas for women the hardest athletic scholarship to get is volleyball. Wrestling has only a 2.7% chance of earning a scholarship and volleyball has a 3.9% chance of earning a scholarship.

Which scholarship gives the most money?

Elks National Foundation and Davidson Fellows Scholarship program offer up to $50000 in scholarships in the USA.

What is the easiest type of scholarship to get?

The scholarship that aligns with your interests and best potential is the easiest to get for you. For example, if you’re good at writing essays, the Wiingy Future STEM Leaders Scholarship is very easy to apply for!

Also, Merit-based scholarships, awarded during the acceptance process, are often the easiest to obtain for colleges, especially private schools, as they don’t require a separate application.

Written by by

Medha Pandey

Reviewed by by

Prerit Jain

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