So, you’ve gotten a sports scholarship offer. All that hard work has paid off! But now you suddenly find yourself under a lot of pressure to accept the offer. What a lot of perspective student athletes don’t realize is that scholarship offers can be negotiated.
Before we even talk about how to negotiate a scholarship offer, we need to point out that verbal promises aren’t final. You can agree to a scholarship offer from a coach and still continue looking for other offers. Only once you sign the Letter of Intent are scholarship offers legally-binding. For this reason, it is very important that you know the Letter of Intent signing dates. During the early signing period, you will have more flexibility to negotiate scholarships. Once the final signing period arrives, most scholarship spots on the team have already been given away to the best players. Coaches know that you don’t have so many options anymore and there isn’t as much room to negotiate.
To effectively negotiate a scholarship offer, you’ve also got to understand what you’ve been offered. Some scholarships are written in a way so that they cover X% of a student’s financial need. Many students accept these scholarship offers, only to realize that the amount isn’t as much as they thought.
There are also ways to stretch the sports scholarship without changing the amount of tuition which is covered. For example, you could negotiate for the scholarship to cover your accommodation and meals at the student canteen.
Negotiating the terms of your scholarship doesn’t have to involve any trickery or sly methods. Just be honest with the coach about other offers you have gotten, and why the scholarship amount matters. You can straight out say that you need a better offer.
But remember to be realistic. Very few student athletes get full rides, especially during their freshman year. If you are offered a partial scholarship from a few coaches who’ve shown you slight interest, then don’t expect them to suddenly offer you a generous full ride the moment you slyly say you are considering a different college.
Here is where a sports recruiting consultancy can help a lot. A good consultancy will have experience with negotiating scholarships. Firstly, they will know how much you can realistically expect based on your athletic and academic profile. They will also be able to tell how interested a coach is by the amount of attention you’ve gotten (number of phone calls, paid campus visits, etc.). Then the consultancy can either negotiate on your behalf or advise you on how to proceed.