Student-athletes and the power of scholarships – The American River Current
When you’re an athlete in college, you’re going to face many obstacles every day. One of them is definitely the pressure to get a scholarship.
The point is: what will it take for student-athletes to feel less pressure during this process?
As a student-athlete, playing tennis at American River College during my senior year of community college, I can understand the stress and pressure this process can cause.
The same pressure that most student-athletes face when looking for a scholarship.
“It can definitely be stressful, whether it’s because you’re talking to a lot of schools but you don’t get scholarship offers, or you get scholarship offers and you have to choose one,” Kai said. Wallin, an ARC football player.
For many athletes, a scholarship is the only way to play a sport while earning a degree, so it’s understandable that certain decisions can change the course of your life.
Chances of getting a scholarship depend on the ability of athletes and students, and of course, you should do your best to increase those chances.
According to ARC Sports Advisor Diana Allie, the process of recruiting for a sports scholarship can be complex. Student-athletes must consider a variety of factors: coaching style, team chemistry, geographic location, and eligibility for financial aid. These are just a few of them.
There are several criteria and deadlines that you must meet, which will sometimes cause you to feel like you don’t match and lose confidence.
“Scholarships definitely affect your self-confidence,” Wallin said. “You might gain confidence because a school finally believes in you, or you might start to feel pressure because you’re now up against a higher level.”
Academically, you must excel with a high GPA and pass multiple tests with excellent scores. In order to play, you must be enrolled in a specific number of units, otherwise you can be suspended or miss the season.
Although you have to have an exceptional performance from a sporting point of view, and not only during a match but also during training, that is when the coach chooses the composition or who the starters are.
“It can be a stressful process. Also due to student-athletes simultaneously juggling their academics, current season or pre-season, and more,” Allie said.
As a student-athlete, your daily life requires a lot of energy and perfect management of time and deadlines. You need to be able to handle your homework, perform at your best in every practice, and control your emotional state that day.
On top of all that, waiting for a call or email from a coach, which may never reach you, can definitely affect your day. Make you start doubting if what you are doing is enough or if you are good enough.
However, other aspects must be taken into account. In fact, the college may be affected by the criteria that determines whether the school can offer a scholarship and its value.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges have also paid the price, as have the various sports programs. Some of them have seen their budgets shrink, while in other cases they drop out of the programs right away.
It doesn’t just depend on the coaches, but they must be able to manage the budget provided by the school.
Having the chance for you as a student-athlete to share your experiences with someone who is going through the same process or someone who can help you connect with the right people will be a way to make you feel less under pressure.
“Some things that might make the process easier might be talking with your coach, asking them to connect you with resources, and giving you advice on how best to get your name out there,” Allie said. “Or speak with the Athletic Advisors, who will ensure that student-athletes enroll in appropriate quality units (not just quantity) so that you can accept an athletic scholarship.”
In some cases, knowing the right people, who can give encouraging words or just point out the right steps to take, can go a long way to helping you feel less stressed.
In fact, you can see the trust that student-athletes place in the school. Or in other words, the people you have spent most of your day with learning and playing a sport that can give you the chance to win this scholarship.
“The school certainly helps enough, more than enough,” Wallin said. “Coaches, teachers and advisers, they all play a huge role and want the best for your future.”
On the other hand, as Allie said, student-athletes must learn to defend themselves professionally. Institutions have many knowledgeable faculty and staff willing to help in the process, but it is up to the student-athlete to use their personal tools and support system to meet others halfway to better receive this help.
To overcome this pressure caused by the idea of not being enough to win a scholarship, as student-athletes you must understand that there is nothing wrong with this and that it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed.
At this point, you need to embrace all the skills you’ve learned through this process, with the help of people who want you to succeed. Your self-confidence is also important because it’s the only way for others to believe in your abilities.
“Nurturing your soft skills during this stressful time can help you achieve a more desirable outcome,” Allie said.