Wrestling programs have some of the smallest budgets of any college sport. Without the high profile and deep pockets of major college sports like football and basketball, it can be difficult for wrestlers to find scholarship opportunities. This guide will help you get started in your search for a college wrestling scholarship.
The first step to take when considering a college wrestling scholarship is to be proactive, and some students begin as early as sophomore year. Starting early can give prospective coaches a chance to learn who you are as an athlete and as a person, which can work to your advantage when it comes time to decide on a school. Where major sports like basketball and football actively seek out and recruit talented, promising athletes, prospective college wrestlers are expected to approach coaches themselves. Talent and strength are necessary, of course, but determination and initiative are crucial. To begin your outreach, make a list of schools and programs in which you are interested. Make your list as broad as possible and narrow it down from there. Athletic scholarships for any sport can be very competitive, so be open-minded and have a wide range of schools to increase your chances of success.
When contacting coaches and scouts from schools of interest, it is important to make sure you highlight your strengths and abilities. Create a resume of your wrestling career complete with statistics from past seasons, and any awards or special recognitions you may have received that might set you apart from your peers. In addition to a written resume, create a video that showcases your wrestling skills. Make sure your video stands out and shows you at your best, as this is one of the best ways for scouts to see your talent. Include a link to that footage in your resume so that coaches can access it online rather than mailing hard copy DVDs.
Making sure you meet the NCAA eligibility requirements is one of the most important steps when you are considering a wrestling scholarship. General requirements for scholarship eligibility in wrestling include: multiple tournament wins in high school; being a varsity team member; competition in state championships; ranking in the top 25 in your weight class and state; year-round participation in the sport. Keep in mind that colleges have admission requirements as well that you will need to meet if you plan to receive a wrestling scholarship. These may include standardized test scores, essays, interviews and maintaining a certain GPA. Furthermore, if you do receive a scholarship, there will undoubtedly be a specific GPA that you must strive to maintain in order to keep your scholarship and remain eligible for competition, so you should be prepared to meet, and hopefully exceed, the academic standards.
While it may not have the resources or fan base of basketball or football, college wrestling is growing in popularity and can lead to many exciting professional opportunities. Because of this, partial and full scholarships are becoming more readily available. If you follow these steps and are up to the challenge, you may be well on your way to a college wrestling scholarship at a great school.