The Elusive Wrestling Scholarship
By Carl Adams, 15 Dec, 10 @ 07:59am
The Elusive Wrestling Scholarship
A scholarship offer can be one of the most exciting opportunities an athlete can receive for the hard work and success achieved in any sport. The offer says something about your talent, dedication and hard work. A college scholarship can also help solve the problem of how part or all of your college education will be paid for.
Make no mistake about it. Wrestling scholarships are hard to come by. Generally, you have to be one of the best high school wrestlers in the country to receive an offer. You are competing against many other great prospects. In reality, there are not that many scholarships available. There are roughly 60,000 high school wrestlers graduating from high school each year. If I had to guess, I would say that there were less than 80 full wrestling scholarships that become available each year at the division one level.
Blue chip prospect who have shown that they have the potential to be one of the top college wrestlers in the country, are the ones who do not have to work as hard to receive good scholarship offers. However, there are other areas that are given very strong consideration. Your academic status counts for a lot. College coaches are always looking for the best possible student they can find. Academic eligibility issues can be a serious problem. This can cause a lot of stress for a program and a college coach. Coaches generally try to steer clear of students who might be a major academic risk.
The other area that college coaches are concerned with is a student’s character. A student with a bad attitude and a propensity for getting into trouble can cause real problems for a program. Most college coaches do not want to deal with athletes who will be a distraction and have a negative impact on a team.
If you are ranked as one of the top 5-8 prospects in the country at your weight, most college coaches will probably know that you exist. They have ways to find you as well as make contact. If you are a good fit for a program and you have the grades, there is a good chance that you will be contacted and might receive some type of scholarship offer.
However, if you are under the radar and have not received the exposure of the top rated wrestlers in the country, you have some work to do. The key now, is how well you position yourself to receive an offer. Research and exposure are probably the two most important areas to consider.
It’s a bad idea to sit by the phone waiting for a college coach to contact you. It is important for prospects to take the initiative of contacting college coaches. You can start by doing research on the programs that you might be interested in. If you feel a school can offer the location, academic, social, competition, wrestling and coaching experience you are looking for, this would be a good place to start.
First, do your best to develop a long and short list of schools that are attractive to you. You should contact every coach at the schools on your list. Once you have done that, you should start arranging visits. Visiting schools will be the most important aspect of this entire process. This process should start as early as the beginning of your junior year in high school or earlier.
You will be able to learn a lot about the school, coaching staff, members on the team and what type of experience you might have at the schools you are visiting.
Once you have narrowed your list, it is time to start serious financial negotiations with the schools on your short list. The more you know about a programs needs, the stronger your position to negotiate. My advice would be to try to get what you think you are worth but not be too pushy. If you overvalue yourself, you could end up losing everything. Whether you accept or reject an offer, it should depend on other options you might have and how much you want to attend the institution you are negotiating with. If you do not have options, you would probably be best off accepting the offer on the table.
Remember, college coaches may very well need your services but they are in a position where they could always move on to the next prospect. Keep this figure in mind. There are about 60,000 wrestlers that graduate from high school each year. I would guess that 500-1000 of them could be considered scholarship prospects. The wrestlers who get scholarship offers are generally the ones who have done the best job positioning, researching and exposing themselves to college coaches.
I hope this has been helpful.
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