What Percent of College Athletes Get Full Ride Scholarships?

There are a lot of myths about athletic scholarships. One of the biggest misconceptions is around full ride scholarships. I work with many high school athletes who go on to play a sport in college. These students and their families often ask me, “ What percentage of high school athletes get full scholarships in college?” The simple answer is very, very few. When I advise them of this, they then go on to say things like, “But Johnny is a great soccer player and we’re going to bank on getting athletic money to put him through school.” I advise them that they should not bank on that.

College Sports Scholarship Numbers

The vast majority of college athletes do not receive any scholarship money. Only about one or two percent of high school athletes are awarded any type of sports scholarships in college. A good percentage of those students receive very little money. And the number of those that receive a full scholarship is extremely minute. For these reasons, I always advise my students and families not to bank on their athletic abilities paying for college. If it ends up that the student receives scholarship monies for playing sports, wonderful, but the extremely vast majority of the time that is not the case.

Amount of Athletic Scholarships Is Tied to Specific Sports

Whether you receive an athletic scholarship is also directly related to the sport you play. For men’s sports, the big scholarship money is in football and basketball. And, that is where the full ride scholarships tend to be. For women’s sports, full scholarships are available for basketball, volleyball, tennis and gymnastics.

Which Division the College Falls In Impacts Scholarship Awards

Athletic scholarships are also limited to Division I and Division II schools, and there are requirements those schools need to follow when awarding those scholarships. Division III schools are not allowed to award athletic scholarships, but they can award merit scholarships and may consider extracurricular activities, such as sports, when doing so.

Great Article on College Athletic Scholarships and the Myths Around Them

There is a very informative article from U.S. News & World Report that takes a deeper dive into the subject of the scholarship monies available for college athletes, particularly full ride scholarships. I recommend you read it for more detailed information on this topic.

Again, the percentage of student athletes that actually get a full ride scholarship to college is very, very, very few. I recommend that high school athletes look at other avenues to pay for college and not bank on a sports scholarship.

So, being deferred just means that the decision on your admission is going to be considered again along with the regular decision applications.

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