My son is very good at sports, and my daughter specifically at tennis. Can you tell us more about sports scholarships?

Sports play an incredibly important role on US college campuses, both at the semi-professional and amateur level. Campuses encourage healthy active lifestyles, and view sports as important character-building opportunities for students. Colleges make a lot of effort to recruit student athletes, and offer generous scholarships. It is important to acknowledge schedules for student athletes are gruelling, with multiple hours of training required over and above their regular workload.

In the US, there are multiple bodies that regulate sports scholarships depending on the sport, university and the level you are aspiring to play.

While the eight Ivy League colleges do not provide athletic scholarships, as an outstanding athlete your admission prospects improve considerably along with the possibility of being awarded a need-based scholarship.

Competition for these scholarships is fierce and the higher you are in the pecking order the greater the probability to be awarded a scholarship. I would strong recommend you have your performance observed and rated by an external agency outside the school. Or if your school has sent students earlier on sports scholarships, leverage off your school coach’s existing knowledge and relationships with colleges.

Extensive research is a must for shortlisting campuses to ensure you meet the eligibility of both academic and athletic criteria. The coaches are critical in the admission process and communication with them should be established at the earliest. Their names and contact details are available on college websites.

Along with academic records, you would also need to send a resume with athletic achievements and statistics clearly mentioned on it. A small video highlighting the performance is also preferred to size up the applicant. Determine the minimum score required to be eligible for a scholarship and choose courses that would help you attain these goals.

Tennis has the benefit of being a sport that even if you don’t represent your school, colleges look upon it favourably and will view positively (alongside other sports such as squash and golf).

Sports scholarships are obtainable if you start early and put in the effort. And don’t forget irrespective of whether you are eventually selected to represent the college, your skill set in sports will make a tangible difference to your application, so continue working on it.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to