Why Full Ride Athletic Scholarships Are Rare

Why Full Ride Athletic Scholarships Are Rare

My kids have been playing club sports for a few years now. When I meet parents on the sidelines (especially from other teams), I get the impression that their intensity reflects a belief that sports are a ticket to college. It could be that it’s their golden ticket into a college, but I hope it’s not because parents think it will also pay for college.

Because … full ride athletic scholarships are harder to get than entrance to Princeton (7%), Harvard (5.3%) or Stanford (5.05%).

…odds of a high school athlete getting a sports scholarships is 2%, but the odds are far worse on getting a full-ride.

More than 600,000 girls competed in track and field in high school while there were only 4,506 scholarships. These scholarships were split among 9,888 athletes and the average award was $8,105.

More than 330,000 boys played soccer in high school while there were 2,357 soccer scholarships. These soccer scholarships were split among 6,047 students and the average award was $8,533.*

These are dreadful odds. from The College Solution

*Boston College costs $62,820 for Tuition, Fees, Room, and Board for 2015-2016.


Just 3.3 percent of high school seniors playing men’s basketball will have roster positions on NCAA teams as freshmen—with or without scholarships, according to NCAA data. For women, the figure is 3.7 percent.The odds are almost as slim in men’s soccer, football, and baseball. The chance of getting an athletic scholarship is even smaller, even for students whose parents can devote the hundreds of hours–and thousands of dollars–that high-level youth sports often require.

Put another way, the odds of landing a college scholarship in many major sports are lower than the chances of being admitted to Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford. from CNBC

It’s true that some sports are easier than others to get than others. Here’s the stats on that by sport, broken down by boys versus girls.

high school athletes that play college sports

Blue= Mens Orange = Womens

But even this is deceptive. PickyKidPix‘s club soccer team has an Academy Team for boys (but not girls). There are only two Academy teams in Massachusetts where the best players compete for a spot. Here’s where the graduating seniors landed:

Nicholas Atwood: Florida Southern (acceptance rate 65%)
Alexis Berrera: Daniel Webster College (acceptance rate 66%)
Colin Berg: Sarah Lawrence College (acceptance rate 62%)
Mason Brummett: Holy Cross (acceptance rate 33%)
Nicholas Caruso: Eastern Connecticut State University (acceptance rate 70%)
Colin Chiakpo: Boston University (acceptance rate 32%)
Patrick Conway: University of Rochester (acceptance rate 35%)
Alex Dano: New York University  (acceptance rate 35%)
Rohan Doherty: Allegheny College  (acceptance rate 58%)
Adam Gibbs: Northeastern University  (acceptance rate 31.2%)
Clayton Hafer: Holy Cross (acceptance rate 33%)
John Hackney: Elmira College (acceptance rate 75%)
John Hamilton: Providence College (acceptance rate 60%)
Eoin Houlihan: Holy Cross (acceptance rate 33%)
Paul Maggazu: Merrimack College (acceptance rate 77%)
Aleksandr Marceau: Bates College  (acceptance rate 24%)
Michael Milhollen: Connecticut College (acceptance rate 32%)
Francis Muumba: Roger Williams University (acceptance rate 78%)
Miles Robinson: Syracuse University (acceptance rate 49.5%)
Kyle Ryan: George Mason University  (acceptance rate 67%)
Joe Schallmo: Wentworth Institute of Technology (acceptance rate 61%)

Boston College men's soccer team

There’s another twist in the mix … international high school soccer players. At Boston College (acceptance rate 34%), recruits from overseas are top picks.

College Soccer News ranked Boston College’s 12-member freshman class as the 46th-best in the country.

Here is what the website said about the new Eagles:

Ed Kelly has added a twelve member recruiting class that he hopes will give the Eagles the edge they need on both sides of the ball to get back into the NCAA Tournament field in 2015 after a two-year absence. Forward Simon Enstrom from Sweden, midfielder Joshua Forbes from Germany, defender Rodolfo Postigo from Venezuela and midfielder Raphael Salama from Spain are among the international players in the class who have the potential to make an impact. Forward Tommy Garcia-Morillo out of the Weston FC Academy and Gulliver Preparatory is among other members.

It’s true that everyone know someone who is heavily recruited. Where I live, this accolade belongs to Athena Ardila with more than two dozen scholarship offers at Division 1 schools for volleyball. Her serve has knocked out more than one libero unconscious. She’s also on the pre-Olympic team and trains in Colorado Springs.

USA National Volleyball team

If you are the best in the world in your age group, you can ignore this post. For everyone else though, it’s time to hit the books.


p.s. I have a related posts here:

How To Get An Athletic Scholarship

Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College

How to Get Into College: Admissions Revolution

Top Art and Design Schools for Undergraduates

How To: Pay for College with Dr. Michele Borba

Best Club Soccer in Newton, MA

Why Full Ride Athletic Scholarships Are Rare

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Both our grandsons have golf scholarships to Ohio State University. Josh is a junior and Justin is a freshman. I don’t believe they are full scholarships. My husband’s daughter is the nutritionist for the OSU Athletic Dept and for the football team. Because she’s an employee, they also get a percentage off their enrollment too. And, Justin won the Jack Nicklaus Golf Honor Award last May, which is a scholarship. Both grandsons love playing golf and lacrosse. They didn’t plan or set out to win scholarships. They focused on playing and had their mother’s athletic ability. They felt blessed to be recruited because of their talent.
    Patricia Tilton recently posted…Water Is WaterMy Profile

    • Hi Patricia,
      My husband got a full ride for golf to University of Hawaii. His golf coach friends say that girls who shoot under 80 can get a full ride. It’s more competitive for boys though. But soccer is the hardest sport to get a scholarship which is what two of my kids play. Some sports are easier than others, that’s for sure! Lacrosse is another good one; not too many kids playing that but lots of colleges recruiting for it.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Adventurous Dog Picture Book of the DayMy Profile

  2. I know that my college athlete friends would still say that you want to hit the books! It’s hard to do well in college if you are juggling a sport with academics and you aren’t really academically prepared!
    maryanne recently posted…Make Room for More AppMy Profile

  3. Very informative post! I don’t play sports that I will get scholarships for (martial arts). Maybe I can get one for band but I am really hoping to get academic scholarships.
    Erik – TKRB recently posted…Review! Comic Phonics books by Kevin Bolger and Ben HodsonMy Profile

    • Hi Erik,
      I am hearing about these scholarships colleges are giving out for gamers now! Wow, the world is really changing!! I guess these gaming competitions are big money now and colleges want in on the action. I think it’s for World of War Craft … something like that? But doing well academically ALWAYS pays off!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Adventurous Dog Picture Book of the DayMy Profile

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