Q&A: How to Obtain Scholarship Money

college_fundsOur reader, Lori was looking for advice on how to obtain money for scholarships. She posed this question to our experts: "How can I obtain scholarship funds to pay for my child's hockey?"

Answer: “Wouldn’t it be great if our kids could play this great game for free? Most parents love watching their children skate, enjoy seeing them mature as leaders in the locker room, and don’t even mind the cross country drives to rinks with arctic temperatures. When it comes time to buy new goalie pads or pay travel hockey dues, however, we start to wonder why our children couldn’t have pursued a sport like track, where all you need is a pair of tennis shoes! Despite the high cost associated with our favorite sport, there are ways to turn your child’s passion into profit when it comes time for college.

The first step is to educate your family about college hockey. There are 58 Division I men’s ice hockey programs and 35 for women. Although fully funded teams offer 18 full scholarships, not all teams are fully funded and with 35,955 (men) and 7,350 (women) high school aged players competing for the same college roster spots, a Division I scholarship is hard to come by. Many people believe the myth that Division III colleges and universities do not offer scholarships. The fact is that although Division III institutions can not offer athletic scholarships they can and do offer academic and merit based scholarships as well as need based financial aid. Student-athletes who excel during high school have an advantage when it comes to the recruiting process because they will be eligible for academic and merit awards, and prospects that combine size, strength and speed with good grades and test scores are hot commodities for college coaches.

In order to receive a scholarship you must understand the process, know the rules and set appropriate expectations. For example, college coaches rarely “discover” prospects. You need to make yourself known by using credible sources to get your name in front of as many college coaches as possible. You will also need to compete at the highest levels. In today’s competitive world of college recruiting the average college freshman has played at least one year of juniors hockey. It is rare that a high school player jumps straight into the college arena so you should begin to map out your future as early as freshman year of high school. By taking ownership of your hockey career early on you will set yourself apart from your peers and give yourself the best possible chance of receiving a scholarship.”

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to NCSA Recruiting Coach Director and former Yale University Women’s Ice Hockey Captain, Lisa Strasman for answering the question. Lisa has helped guide thousands of high school student-athletes through the recruiting process. For more information about NCSA, please visit their website: http://www.ncsasports.org/

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