Choosing a College - Part 2!

Date Posted: 5/17/2016

In part 1 of my letter I discussed what prospective students should be considering about "Academics" and "the Coaching Staff" at schools you are interested in.  This
afternoon I will address "financing your college education",  "the College" and "other considerations".

Financing Your College Education

There are 3 types of external sources available to prospective student-athletes to finance college.  These being, athletic scholarship, merit scholarship and need based aid.

Athletic Scholarship is money given to a student-athlete based on his athletic abilities.  Athletic scholarship can only be awarded by colleges and universities that compete in
NCAA Division I and II, Junior Colleges and NAIA schools.  NCAA Division III colleges and universities are prohibited from awarding athletic scholarships.  Unlike basketball and football,
where the majority of players receive full athletic scholarships, the majority of scholarships awarded to soccer players are partial awards.  Awards range from a book scholarship
to room, board, tuition, books and fees.  Every NCAA Division I, II and NAIA soccer coach awards scholarships differently.  If you are being recruited by one of these schools,
you should speak to the head coach to understand their method of awarding money.

Merit Scholarship is money given to a prospective student based on their academic performance prior to enrolling in college.  Merit money can be awarded by NCAA Division I,
II, III, Junior Colleges and NAIA schools.  A college awarding merit money has specific guidelines that must be adhered to when making an award.  Athletic prowess is (should not be)
taken into consideration when a school makes this type of award.  Each college and university has its own academic standards for awarding merit money.  Receiving a merit scholarship from
one school does not necessarily mean you will receive a merit scholarship from another college or university.

Need based aid is money awarded based on your families ability to contribute to your college education.  The applicant and his family will complete and submit institutional and
government forms (FAFSA).  The institution the student is applying to will then determine how much the family can contribute to the student's education and expenses and will make an award based
on the difference.  Need based money comes in the form of federal and state grants and/or loans, University grants and/or loans, private grants and/or loans or work study (money- government
or institutional).  A college or university is not required to meet the full unmet need of the student.  The term "gap" is used when there is a difference between need determined by the  school
or government and unmet need. 

Financing your college education should be an important consideration when choosing a school, however, I encourage prospective student athletes to ask some additional questions before
settling on a college.  Listed below are some questions that may interest you.

The College

  1. Where is it located? ( inner city, rural, suburban)
  2. What is the distance from home?
  3. What are the campus, the dormitories, fraternities/sororities, apartments and facilities like?
  4. What are the dining facilities quality/quantity of food, training table?
  5. Spiritual, aesthetic, cultural opportunities?
  6. Quantity, quality of student body?
  7. Attitude faculty, student body, and community towards athletes in general, your sport in particular.
  8. What are the students like? What are the other players like? Do they seem to be quality people?
  9. Does the school have character and spirit?
  10. Consider the social aspect of the school.

Other Things to Consider

  1. What is the athletic tradition of the school?  Tradition in soccer?
  2. Are they a regular post season participant?
  3. Are they a consistent winner?
  4. Are they rebuilding?
  5. Is the head coach secure in his job? How long does he  intend to be at this school?
  6. How long has he been there?
  7. Where else has he coached?
  8. Can I play as a freshman?
  9. At what position am I being recruited?
  10. What is the number of returning players, lettermen, or starters at my position?
  11. How many players are they recruiting at my position? How many do they want to sign?
  12. How many scholarships are they offering this year?
  13. What are their offensive and defensive tendencies or philosophies?
  14. What are the athletic facilities like? Fieldhouse? Locker Rooms? Practice Areas?
  15. Strength Program and Weight Room?
  16. What is their conference affiliation?