Student Athlete Provides Advice on Receiving Athletic Scholarships

Published: November 9, 2022

Athletic scholarships are few and hard to come by. With so many other students wanting to go to college for sports, the competition for performance based scholarships is intense. But it’s not impossible. 

College scholarships are easier to get with the more effort and time a student is willing to dedicate to improve their performance. Continuing to practice outside of the regular season or the school year can put students ahead of the competition for scholarships. This year, senior Ian Kelley received two scholarship offers for football, and his advice for others who want athletic scholarships is to treat the season like it’s year-round. 

“Put in a lot of work during the off season too,” Kelley said. “It doesn’t just happen during the season…[you have to] put yourself out there.” 

Photo by Etaf Abdallah

Good publicity is the most effective way to grab the interest of universities. So, it’s important for athletes to stay active on social media. Having a reputable following and lots of activity on social platforms can provide great exposure for students who are seeking financial aid from colleges and universities. 

With athletes having so many games and tournaments, it’s impractical for college recruiters to visit every students’ sports games. The most effective way for athletes to share their talents with college recruiters is by submitting footage. Kelley received his athletic scholarships because college recruiters could see his talent and passion for football based off of the videos he sent to Grinnell University and Knox College. His performance and dedication is what made him stand out compared to other athletes and gave him the opportunity to play D-3 college football. 

“It was really about them looking at my film,” Kelley said. “Seeing how I played, things like that. Seeing if I was a good enough fit for them.”

But every renewable scholarship comes with conditions. College sports are serious, and it takes a lot of effort to keep a scholarship for sports. Students are expected to maintain great athletic, academic and social performance to keep their scholarships. FHN varsity coach Brett Bevill knows this, and believes Kelley is going to have to work just as hard as a freshman in college football as he did as a freshman player in high school. 

“When it comes to college sports, every person there was one of the best players on their team,” Bevill said. “Right now he’s kind of a big fish for our team, but when he gets to the next level everyone is gonna be like that. So you have to kind of find your way.”

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