For athletes looking to obtain a scholarship, there are a lot of things to consider. Generally, there are two different types of universities that offer great scholarships for student athletes: either the university has an excellent athletic program and they are looking for the best of the best, or it's a university that is looking to build their athletic program and therefore offer attractive financial packages to students they are hoping to recruit. When beginning the search process, you need to identify what is most important to you and choose a university that provides exactly that.
University of Texas at Austin is the number-one university in terms of their athletic program, having received more awards than any other universities since its athletic program began operating in 1996. The school is constantly looking to recruit new students and is willing to provide scholarships to individuals who demonstrate financial need or can be an asset to the team. In order to apply, you can either send a letter of interest to the athletic department or simply fill out an application on their website.
Another university that is ranked extremely high in their athletic programs is Ohio State University. Like most state schools, Ohio State is a Division I school. That means that it recruits the best of the best and is thus capable of providing financial packages to recruits it wishes to make part of the team. While Ohio State is ranked fairly high in regards to how much it provides for athletic scholarships, you won't know if you qualify for one unless you contact the head coach directly, so you must send a letter of interest. While it may seem like extra work, it is a great way to get to know the coach ahead of time and score some brownie points. Every little thing makes a world of difference in this hypercompetitive process, and it all adds up in the end.
Other universities that rank high in their athletic programs and athletic scholarships are University of Florida, University of Michigan, University of Georgia, and University of Connecticut. You should give obvious preference to Division I schools, as they will have better resources to provide you with the type of scholarship you are looking for. However, not all D-I athletic programs are the same. Just because they are ranked highly as a whole doesn't mean that the sport you are interested in playing is one of their strong sports. That is why it is important to do research on the particular sport you are interested in playing. Choose a school that can not only provide you with a strong athletic program, but that also has an excellent program for your particular sport in addition to a strong academic environment. Once you have your choice of schools narrowed down, contact the head coaches and express your interest. Most schools don't have online applications for their athletic scholarships.