Are you being overlooked by college recruiters?

Walk-onAthletes.com's goal is to open the lines of communication to help overlooked high school athletes play football beyond high school and earn a scholarship.

There are many high school recruiting sites out there, but no other site caters to the majority of high school athletes, which are the athletes NOT receiving athletic scholarships. I understand how important it is for you to fully understand the process before you begin on this course, and I am here to help.

You have stumbled upon one of the few web sites that encourage you to pursue your dreams and earn that college scholarship.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Do-It-Yourself Scholarships

Article by Erik Sherman

Amy Murphy-Wallace was a competitive swimmer with a top California club team. Not surprisingly, she hoped to land a college athletic scholarship before graduating from high school in 2000. But as one friend after another got recruited, her phone remained silent. So she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Murphy-Wallace created a list of schools she was interested in, researched the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the respective swim coaches, and made them aware of her accomplishments and her desire to join their team. "It was the best thing I could have done," she recalls. Her efforts eventually netted her a four-year scholarship at the University of Nevada.

If you're among the country's elite high school athletes, especially in football or basketball, it's easier to catch the eye of some powerhouse university. But for thousands of other talented, hard-working athletes, attracting the attention of college recruiters can be a big-time challenge. Going unnoticed doesn't necessarily mean you're unwanted. It just means you have to work a little harder — and smarter.

Many companies promise to boost athletes' profiles and make them more visible to college coaches, but the professional touch isn't always warmly received. "If the athlete or the service they hired didn't take the time to do a little bit of research on our program or university, then they're not as interested as I need them to be," says Mike Mominey, athletic director and head baseball coach for Nova Southeastern University, a Division II school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Going overboard with self-promotion, he adds, can cross the fine line between persistence and annoyance.

To raise awareness of your athletic prowess and also save money in the process, Mominey and other college coaches recommend going the do-it-yourself route. It's not that a professional service can't help, they say, but students need to be actively involved from the get-go.

Making the Grade

The first step, not surprisingly, is to do well in school. "When coaches hand out scholarships, they don't want the student sitting on the bench because they don't have the grades [to play]," says Penny Hastings, co-author of How to Win a Sports Scholarship. A coach is more apt to award a scholarship to an athlete with a 3.2 GPA than one with a 2.5, she adds, because the better grade shows higher potential. Additionally, NCAA rules limit the number of scholarships a school can hand out. Nova's baseball team, for example, has 32 players, but Mominey can offer only nine full scholarships. Strong academics can help athletes qualify for other scholarships a college might offer.

The next step is to build solid athletic fundamentals. "You're talking about something most kids have to work at three hours a day if they even want a chance at a scholarship," says Steve Adams, who helps run Triumph Basketball, a spring and summer sports league in the Dallas area. If you're not among the top echelon of athletes, he notes, then coaches look for solid skills and signs of a good work ethic — colleges want to get their money's worth if they're going to cover tuition.

After preparing yourself mentally and physically, the third step is to find a school that's right for you. "It's matchmaking — finding a school where you can get the most out of your college experience in the classroom and on the field," says Fran Fraschilla, a basketball analyst for ESPN and a former Division I coach.

Having several choices will improve your odds of landing a scholarship. Caden Dickerson, a college basketball star from Argyle, Texas, started with a list of over 20 colleges and eventually received a scholarship from Western Kentucky University. "The first time I noticed Western was in the NCAA tournament a couple of years ago," Dickerson says. "I looked to see where everyone was from, how old they were, when they were graduating. Once I did some research on the school's history, the education, I liked it more and more."

For many skilled athletes who feel overlooked, investing time in research can be the difference maker. "It's definitely difficult not being the best in the sport," says James Leabman, a senior and nose tackle at Needham High School in Needham, Mass. "I'm a little bit undersized [and] scouts don't necessarily come here, so I have to do my own work."

Research not only helps a student identify and prioritize choices, Mominey says, it also makes a prospect look better to a coach: "If I get an e-mail from a high school catcher who knows I've got three senior catchers, that impresses me, because Nova will need a catcher."

Show Your Interest

While coaches can get inundated with solicitations from athletes, they want to hear directly from students. "I love that," says Rhonda Riley, assistant cross-country and track coach at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. "That shows they're interested. It goes a long way."

When making contact with a college coach, present all relevant information succinctly, including performance stats, GPA, and SAT scores, Riley suggests. Offer to send links to online video clips that show you in action, but be sure the clips highlight skills that address the full demands of the sport. Also, visit NCAA.org to learn the rules on recruiting and athletic scholarships — and make smart use of your knowledge. For example, rules often prohibit a coach from contacting a high school prospect, but that doesn't mean the school isn't interested.

As Murphy-Wallace puts it, "I gave the University of Nevada a reason to want to have me on their team." Do the same with the school of your choice, and scholarship dollars just may follow.

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