If you want to give your child the best chance of securing an athletic scholarship for college, it appears the phrase they should be learning isn’t “keep your eye on the ball,” it’s “en garde.”
To get a better idea of his own son’s chances of getting a free ride for baseball, D.C.-based accountant Patrick O’Rourke analyzed NCAA and NAIA scholarship numbers and high school varsity sports data from 2013-14. When he was done, O’Rourke created ScholarshipStats.com.
By comparing the number of high schoolers participating in varsity sports to the max number of available scholarships, O’Rourke found gymnastics (5%), fencing (4.5%) and ice hockey (2.8%) gave the best chances of securing a scholarship for men, while fencing (7.5%), ice hockey (6.8%), gymnastics (4.2%) and golf (4.2%) were the best options for women.
Overall, he found that the ratio of athletes to available scholarships at four-year schools is about 55:1 and that the chances of an athlete of either gender locking one down is around 6%.
It’s worth noting that the calculations don’t factor in the number of schools that offer particular sports, so while the odds may look good on paper, they might not be as great in real life.
“Everyone talks about how many rowing scholarships there are,” O’Rourke told MarketWatch. “The are 150 schools that offer rowing, there are 1,700 that offer softball, so you have a much better chance of your kid getting on a team with softball than with rowing.”
Whatever sport you do encourage your young one to play, apparently it shouldn’t be volleyball.