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Want to play college ball, and get a college scholarship for doing it? There are a number of requirements you must first fulfill, and a number of things you can do to ensure that you’re on a prospective school’s radar. Follow these steps to improve your chances of snagging athletic university scholarships.

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Contact the school formally

Once you have made a list of the schools you’re interested in, get the names of the head coaches and write to them. When you do, include:

  • A factual resume of your athletic and academic accomplishments
  • 10-to-15 minutes of video highlights (with your jersey number noted)
  • Letters of recommendation from your high school and off-season coaches
  • Your season schedule

Ace the interview

When you meet with a recruiter or coach, be sure to offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact. According to recruiters, the most effective attitude is quiet confidence, respect, sincerity, and enthusiasm. These are qualities they’ll want to see on the court and on the field.

Ask good questions

Don’t think that you should refrain from asking questions. Not only will you impress the recruiter — you’ll get the information you need to make the right decisions about your athletic and academic future. Such questions might include:

  • Do I qualify athletically and academically?
  • If I were recruited, what would the parameters of the college scholarships be?
  • For what position am I being considered?
  • What level of interest do you have in me?

Follow up

Timing is everything. There are four times when a follow-up letter from you or your coach can be extremely effective in procuring student scholarships:

  • Prior to the senior season
  • During or just after the senior season
  • Just prior to or after announced signing dates (conference-affiliated or national association)
  • Late summer, in case undergraduate scholarships offered to other athletes have been withdrawn or declined

Just like in sports, success with college scholarships is about persistence. Give it your all, and there’s a good chance it will pay off.