NCSA: Which sports are easiest to get a scholarship for?

High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Kyle Winters was a standout high school pitcher who tossed seven scoreless innings in a major tournament during his senior year. That performance against some heavy-hitting future MLB draft picks helped Kyle earn a full-ride scholarship to the University of New Mexico. However, Kyle opted to play professional baseball and was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the fifth round and played seven seasons for various minor league teams. Kyle is just one of many former college and professional players, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.

Athletic scholarships aren’t easy to come by. In fact, just 7.3 percent of U.S. athletes go on to play sports at the college level. While 7.4 million athletes compete in high school, there are only around 545,000 college athletes. And what’s more, many college athletes don’t receive an athletic scholarship. Across NCAA Division 1, Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior Colleges, there are less than 200,000 available scholarships (Division III schools provide academic aid instead of athletic scholarships). However, depending on the sport you play, your odds of making a college team are significantly better — or worse. Here are the easiest and hardest sports to earn a scholarship for.

Which men’s sports are the easiest to get a scholarship for?

Lacrosse: There are 111,842 high school lacrosse players and 14,202 who compete in college. This means 12.7 percent of high school players make the cut at the college level. There are currently 440 varsity men’s lacrosse programs across all divisions, including 72 Division I teams. Since lacrosse isn’t overly popular in other countries, only 3 percent of college players are from outside the U.S. This means you don’t have to worry too much about international competition. Keep in mind that the recruiting hotbed for college lacrosse is primarily along the East Coast. However, the sport is growing fast and quickly becoming popular across the country.

Ice Hockey: There are 35,210 high school ice hockey players and 3,687 who play in college. This means 10.5 percent of high school playersmake the cut at the college level. There are 163 varsity men’s ice hockey programs across all divisions, including 60 Division I teams. In addition, 21 percent of college ice hockey players are international athletes. This means you could be competing for roster spots against recruits from Canada and Europe. One last thing to keep in mind — hockey coaches heavily recruit in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and New England. If you’re not from this region, you’ll have to put in extra effort to get on a coach’s radar.

Baseball: There are 491,790 high school baseball players and 56,423 who compete in college. This means 11.5 percent of high school players make the cut at the college level. There are 1,675 varsity baseball programs across all divisions, including 297 Division I teams. In addition, only 0.8 percent of college players come from outside the U.S. This means you don’t have to worry about competing with international athletes for roster spots.

Which women’s sports are the easiest to get a scholarship for?

Ice Hockey: There are 9,599 high school ice hockey players and 1,736 who play in college. This means 18.1 percent of high school playersmake the cut at the college level. There are 108 varsity women’s ice hockey programs across all divisions, including 35 Division I teams. In addition, 26.9 percent of college ice hockey players are international athletes. This means you could be competing for roster spots against recruits from Canada and Europe.

Lacrosse: There are 93,473 high school lacrosse players and 11,780 who compete in college. This means 12.6 percent of high school players make the cut at the college level. There are 562 varsity women’s lacrosse programs across all divisions, including 115 Division I teams. Since lacrosse isn’t too big in other countries, only 0.9 percent of college players are international athletes. This means you don’t have to worry about competing with international athletes for roster spots. Keep in mind that the recruiting hotbed for college lacrosse is primarily along the East Coast. However, the sport is growing fast and quickly becoming popular across the country.

Soccer: There are 388,339 high school soccer players and 36,251 who play in college. This means 9.3 percent of high school players make the cut at the college level. There are currently 1,591 varsity women’s soccer programs across all divisions, including 333 Division I teams. 4.9 percent of college players are international athletes. While some college programs are known to prioritize international recruits, the majority of teams stick to domestic recruiting.

Athletic scholarships are just the tip of the iceberg

In many cases, college athletes can combine athletic and academic aid to cover college costs. According to scholarships.com, there are over 3.7 million college scholarships and grants up for grabs — roughly $19 billion in financial aid. While a college’s athletic program and admissions office can point you to financial aid packages offered by the school, these are just the tip of the iceberg. As an added bonus, most academic scholarships are guaranteed all four years as long you keep up your GPA and stay in good standing with the school. Use this helpful search tool to discover scholarships worth applying for.

Article by: Kyle Winters, NCSA Recruiting Manager

Comments

mood_bad
  • No comments yet.
  • chat
    Add a comment