If you currently have, or might eventually have, multiple scholarship offers, congratulations. You’re doing pretty well in your recruiting process. But for some recruits, a bounty of scholarship offers can be a burden that makes a college choice even more difficult. So, to help you make the right choice when you have more than one scholarship offer, consider these tips:
Know What You Want
A lot goes into choosing a college and athletic program, and the criteria are different for every student-athlete. But if you’re trying to choose between several scholarship offers, it helps to know what you want out of your college experience. Some of the factors to consider include location, climate, coaching staff, athletic facilities, your area of study, campus size, athletic versus academic balance, and even the quality of the food on campus. If you’re having trouble deciding between scholarship offers, make a list of what you want and then compare that against what each school has to offer.
Look For The Right Fit
While finding the right fit could also fall under “Know What You Want,” finding the school where you fit is another parameter that’s unique to every student-athlete. It could be how you connect with coaches or current athletes at a school. Or the right fit might entail simply finding a campus that feels like home. How you find the right fit might require another checklist or it may just be a feeling or vibe you have when you visit a campus. Regardless of how you find it, make the school and scholarship offer you choose the one that’s the right fit for you.
Weigh Each Offer
Remember that not all scholarship offers are created equally. That’s especially true if your sport only allows partial scholarships. Though on paper, two schools each offering a partial scholarship covering 50% of your tuition may look comparable, remember you or your family will be financially responsible for the other 50%. If the tuition at one school is significantly higher than at the other school, there could be a huge difference in the value and affordability between those seemingly comparable scholarship offers. In that same vein, a 30% partial scholarship at one school might still be more affordable than a 40% offer at another school. Know the terminology. Read the fine print. And make sure you know exactly what each scholarship offer will provide.
Remember that a verbal scholarship offer is just that; a verbal offer. Nothing is official until you sign a national letter of intent to attend and play at a specific school. And a lot can happen between the time a coach makes a verbal offer and when you reach signing day. Older, more experienced players can transfer to a program. Head coaches and or assistant coaches can take on new jobs. A university may cut its athletic funding which might reduce the number of scholarships available. Be on the lookout for all of the above plus anything else that might affect a scholarship offer or how you feel about a school. Deciding to accept a scholarship offer only to discover a coach or program has gone a different direction can be frustrating at best and maddening at worst. Pay attention so that when you make a college decision, it’s an informed choice.
Take Your Time
If you’re trying to sort through the pros and cons of multiple scholarship offers, the best thing you can do is take your time. Don’t let a coach, teammate, or even a family member pressure you into making a rushed decision. A rushed decision is a rash decision. This decision ultimately comes down to you deciding the best opportunity for you. If working through all the offers is getting overwhelming, step back, take some time, and slow things down to a pace you’re comfortable with.
Finally, even if you follow every one of these tips, you may still find yourself undecided between some offers. Keep whittling down and comparing apples to apples and all the intangibles until you drill down to the fine differences between each school and each offer. Make sure your decision fulfills your priorities so that you’ll be happy with your commitment today, and over the next four years.
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