The Top 10 Myths about College Athletic Scholarships

Dear Parent,

If your child is a high school student athlete with aspirations of receiving an athletic scholarship for college, you’re going to find the following report very helpful.

A question I hear a lot of parents asking these days is, “With all the athletic scholarships handed out each year, how can my child get one?”

To help answer that question you must filter through the many myths surrounding athletic scholarships. And trust me – there are a ton.

In today’s newsletter I am going to cover the Top 10 Most Common Myths surrounding the college athletic scholarship process.

Myth #1: My child is talented enough, the college coaches can get him or her into the school despite poor grades.

Truth: Poor grades turn off a coach’s interest more quickly than any other factor. Nearly every school has minimum grade requirements which college coaches must adhere to. No matter how good an athlete your student is, they can’t get around these minimum grades levels. If your child is very close to the minimums, colleges might be willing to make an exception. But if there is another student-athlete that your child is competing with for a scholarship who has better qualifying grades, a coach would rather pursue that other athlete. It is simply a better use of the coach’s time.

Myth #2: My child is talented enough. College coaches will find them.

Truth: This is the biggest mistake I see student-athletes make. The reality is that a very-very small number of high school athletes receive scholarships because a college coach “stumbled upon their ability.” Only the top 2% receive enough media exposure that they are automatically recruited without having to make an effort.

The other 98% have to “put themselves out there” in order to get noticed. Colleges have limited budgets for recruiting in addition to having only so much time to travel the country searching for student-athletes. Videos, references, and stats have become a huge part of the recruiting and evaluating process.

Most parents think that college coaches will be turned off if they see a parent “marketing” their child. This is simply not true. In fact, it makes the coach’s job easier. This type of self-promotion is so commonplace now, that your child will stand little chance of getting noticed without it.

Myth #3: We will wait until our child’s senior year to start looking for athletic scholarships

Truth: The school selection process can take a year or more, so it’s best to start before your child’s senior year. Your child’s freshman or sophomore is the best time to start. Start researching colleges. Putting together a list and begin to make contact with the schools.

At the very least, start this process no later than the junior year. There are restrictions to how much contact a coach can make with a student athlete prior to the senior year, so be aware of those. The NCAA and NAIA have defined rules for contact periods. You can learn more details on these rules at the following two websites:

Myth #4: We can trust everything the coaches say and promise throughout the recruiting process.

Truth: Coaches as a general rule, must over-recruit. That is, they will talk to and offer more scholarships than they have to give. They are forced to do this because not every student-athlete they offer is going to accept. Put another way, they will talk to more prospects than they have spots for.

On top of that, coaches will tend to over-promise and overstate things about their school, such as the opportunities for playing time and how good they think your child is… all in hopes that your child picks their school.

My advice… be careful. Ask a ton of questions. Try and talk to several of the current student-athletes at the college. And do everything you can to get to know the coach’s character.

Myth #5: Athletic Scholarships will cover all tuition, room and board, and other related costs.

Truth: This could not be further from the truth. It is very rare for a student-athlete to be offered a full athletic scholarship at any school. The number of scholarship dollars is highly regulated by the NCAA and NAIA governing bodies. Each college tries to stretch those dollars as far as they can.

The fact is most scholarships will be partial. That is they will cover only part of the following: room and board, tuition, or books. Be prepared to pay some “out of pocket expenses.”

Key Point: Don’t overlook additional financial aid that you may qualify for in the form of need-based aid or academic scholarships or grants. When you’re making the tough decision as to which school to choose, consider the whole package, not just the athletic scholarship component.

Falling for any one of these college athletic scholarship myths could greatly reduce your child’s chances of not only receiving money but also having an opportunity to further their athletic career.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the online newsletter for Part 2 of the Top Ten College Athletic Scholarship Myths.

To your successful college admissions and funding,

Scott Weingold


Related Articles:

Getting a Leg Up on Your Student’s College Sports Recruitment

What are the Most Common Scholarships?

What Scholarships Can I Apply for as a Junior?

When, How and Where to Apply for Scholarships?

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News,, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.