Athletic Scholarships vs. Academic Scholarships
Some of the most sought after financial aid for college comes from athletic scholarships and academic scholarships. Both awards are widely available in the United States, and they tend to have a high payout. If you’re debating which type of scholarship to pursue, the guide below will point you in the right direction. Let’s take a look at athletic scholarships vs. academic scholarships.
Competition – How Easy Is It to Get Athletic Scholarships vs. Academic Scholarships?
There is high competition for both types of scholarships. Simply having good grades may not be enough for a merit scholarship. Being “good” at sports may not be enough either. If you attend a school with a great sports team, the competition for athletic scholarships will be fierce. If the college has strict academic requirements for acceptance, the merit scholarships there will have many qualified applicants.
The school’s size will also play a role in the competition. If you attend a community college, there will be fewer people to compete with. Thus you have a greater chance at winning an athletic or academic scholarship.
Value – Which Scholarships Are Worth the Most Money?
Not all athletic scholarships are full ride scholarships. Those are the ones most people strive for, but there are partial scholarships for athletes. In the same light, academic scholarships can range greatly in value. Some may only be a few hundred dollars, while others cover the full cost of tuition.
Athletic scholarships are usually more valuable as a whole because there are fewer of them available. There are only so many athletes for each school. There may be countless academics. You could earn several small academic scholarships that add up to one sports scholarship. The smaller scholarships will have less competition, making them easier to earn.
Value ultimately comes down to how likely you are to win. If you are a star athlete, you could qualify for top-paying scholarships. If you’re a National Merit Scholar, you will most likely get a full ride to college. Moreover, if you’re moderately good at sports or have mostly good grades, you can get a lesser-value in either category. That just means you have to work a little harder to pay for your education.
Availability – How Many Sports Scholarships and Merit Scholarships Are out There?
There are tons of sports you could win a scholarship for – basketball, football, tennis, wrestling, etc. However, there are more academic scholarships available as a whole. That’s because sports awards are usually funded by sports-related organizations, whereas academic scholarships can come from anywhere. You may have more options because of where you live or which college you attend. It’s just a matter of exploring your options.
Eligibility Requirements – How Easy Is Each Scholarship to Win?
This once again depends on your personal talents. You may think an academic scholarship is “easy” because you have exemplary test scores. You may think a sport scholarship is attainable because you’re a nationally ranked athlete.
In either situation, it’s important to remember that you’re not judged on one factor alone. It’s not just about grades or athletic performance. You need a balance of other qualities to win most scholarships. Maintain good grades for an athletic scholarship. Participate in extracurriculars for an academic scholarship. That’s what gives you the best chance of winning.
Renewability – Are Sports Scholarships or Academic Scholarships Renewable?
Both athletic scholarships and academic scholarships have the potential to be renewable. You can find that out when you read the eligibility requirement. The scholarship description should have a section for renewal, including what you must do to renew each year. For a sports scholarship, this may include a commitment to play for a certain team, along with general GPA requirements. For a merit scholarships, it may include a minimal GPA or specific courses you have to take. Follow the guidelines to renew each year, and you can continue earning your award.
Can I Apply for Athletic Scholarships AND Academic Scholarships?
Of course you can! Doing so would dramatically increase your chance at a full ride. You can win and keep academic scholarships and sports scholarships. You just have to make sure you uphold the requirements for each. If your academic scholarship has a higher GPA requirement than your athletic scholarship, you still need to earn high grades.
Ideally, you should search for every scholarship you could qualify for. Think about your hobbies, your experiences, and your passions. Could any of them lead to a scholarship? ScholarshipOwl has a massive database of scholarships for every situation imaginable. Create a free account, and we can help you find money for college.
Any Scholarship Is a Good Scholarship
At the end of the day, any scholarship you get is a good scholarship. If you don’t want to play sports in college, athletic scholarships might not be a good fit. If you struggle to get excellent grades, academic scholarships may not be for you. You have to find what works best for your unique situation. Then apply for as many scholarships as you can. With the right combination of awards, you can graduate from college debt free.