College scholarships for lesser-known sports

Some sports – such as football, football, basketball, and baseball – tend to attract significant college interest and funding. But scholarship money is often still available for less common athletic abilities.

College scholarships for lesser-known sports
Shooting targets in the grass (Getty Images/iStockphoto/marnag)

Some sports – e.g soccerFootball, basketball and baseball – tend to attract great interest College financing. But scholarship money is often still available for less common athletic abilities.

At the institutional level, there are financial constraints on othersSports National Collegiate Athletic Association. However, students can search for scholarships from outside sources, such as nonprofits or local organizations.

“There are some colleges that will offer some scholarships for non-NCAA sports that are at the club level and that maybe an alumni has donated money to,” says Kelly Herrington, director of college counseling and student services at UPrep Seattle, a private school for students. Grades 6-12 in Washington.

At NCAA schools, he adds, “you have regulations about who you can offer scholarships to. You can only offer scholarships at section One level. Existing sports scholarships must come at the club level. They can’t be anything as students compete in the Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

[Read: 10 Sites to Kick Off Your Scholarship Search]

Below are examples of outside or college– Scholarships related to unique sports that can be offered as a club or group activity on campus.

Examples of scholarships for less common sports


Shooting enthusiasts can compete for medals and college scholarships at the National Junior Olympic Shooting Development Target Championship. These scholarships are intended for outstanding students.

However, students don’t need to be star players to win an athletic scholarship, experts say.

“It’s really about showing your interest in sports” and your leadership abilities, says Christopher Gray, founder and CEO of Scholly, a scholarship app recently acquired by Sallie Mae.

For example, members of the Minnesota State Archery Association who are graduating high school students with a demonstrated interest in archery may qualify for a $500 college scholarship.

The window

Although there are national curling scholarships, students can also find out if their local curling club provides any college funding.

The Schenectady Curling Club in New York offers the Charlie Brown Memorial Scholarship – established in the 2023-2024 season – which provides a one-time scholarship of $500. There are no grade or transcript requirements, but applicants must be a high school student and a current or former member of the club’s Juniors program. Funding can be used to cover any expenses related to post-secondary education.

[See: Qualified Expenses You Can Pay for With a 529 Plan.]


Video game enthusiasts can take their passion to a competitive level in college. Many organizations have begun building their own gaming arenas in an attempt to recruit students for their eSports teams.

Every year, for example, more than 15 players participate in eSports Harrisburg University of Science and Technology In Pennsylvania, they receive academic scholarships that cover the full cost of tuition, plus housing support.

“Esports scholarships are everywhere,” Herrington says. “My message to middle school families or families just starting high school is: Who knows, this niche thing you’re doing might actually become more popular and there might be more scholarships in it.”


Pickleball is growing in popularity across the United States, including college campuses.

in Utah Technical UniversityStudents can apply for a Pickleball Club Scholarship, which covers up to six credit hours of tuition costs. Selected candidates become part of the team as a player or officer. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and commit to volunteering at least 20 hours per semester for club-related projects.


Compared to the other sports on this list, surfing is geographically limited. However, there are still scholarships for surfers.

The International Surfing Association distributes up to $20,000 in prize money each year, ranging from $100 to $1,000 per recipient. The amount is determined on a case-by-case basis.

To qualify, students must be 18 years or younger, demonstrate financial need, be a prominent role model in their community, and be recommended by the National Surfing Federation in their country. Funding can be used for tuition, books, transportation, training, coaching, competition fees, surfboards and other equipment.

How to stand out on scholarship applications

In the application, it is important for students to discuss why they are interested in this particular sport. In addition, they can state “how they have developed as a result of their participation, how they will contribute to their collective community in that particular sport and how they have applied the lessons learned from that sport to other areas of their lives.” Herrington says.

[Read: How to Find and Secure Scholarships for College.]

Gray says essays should be used to tell a story rather than to rehash a biography. It is recommended that answers be brief – about 500 words – if there is no word limit.

However, students should not spend all their time applying for these scholarships.

“I always tell students to focus most of their attention on doing well in school, on their grades, and taking a strong extracurricular,” Herrington says. “The vast majority of money given to students for external scholarships will come as a result of your academic work.”

But he adds: “There’s a really impressive story when you commit to something that maybe (a lot of) other people aren’t involved in because you’re seen as doing it out of real passion and interest, not out of public glory. Colleges love that. …So, even if they don’t get On a scholarship, they will still get rewarded in the college process because of that interest they have.

Are you trying to finance your education? Get tips and more at US News Paying for college center.

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College scholarships for lesser-known sports Originally appeared on usnews.com

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