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By Paul Keegan
September 28, 2015
Jones family in Folsom, California, on August 22, 2015.
Jones family in Folsom, California, on August 22, 2015.
Ackerman + Gruber

Think your child is good enough to play college sports and maybe get a scholarship? According to ScholarshipStats.com, a measly 1.9% of high school boys will play Division I–level sports (where much of the money is). Girls fare a little better at 2.3%. How do they make the cut? It’s hard to generalize—the football drill is a lot different from recruiting backstrokers—but here are some tips:

BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S TALENT. Few kids are good enough to compete in D-1, so don’t eliminate D-2 and D-3 schools; many have great sports and great academics. An unbiased assessment of your kid’s talent by a high school coach will help narrow the search.

DON’T WAIT TO BE SCOUTED. “Most kids go to tournaments and showcases hoping a coach from the school of their dreams will notice them,” says Matt Wheeler of SportsRecruits.com. “That’s not going to happen. Coaches already have a list of kids they want to look at.” To get on that list, create a short highlight video, write a compelling profile (including grades), and send them to coaches. Start as early as your child’s freshman year. That way, you’ll know where things stand by junior year with his or her top school choices.

HIT THE BOOKS. Athletes with good grades have a big edge. Great academics also allow a coach to recruit others with less-than-stellar grades (because your kid’s high GPA helps bring up the recruiting class’s average).

SEEK OUT “INFLUENCERS.” It helps if your kid receives lessons from someone with college contacts. Influencers might also help your child get into an invitation-only college-recruiting camp. Another source: Enroll in a college sports camp, where you’ll be able to work out with the coaches themselves. Some clinics last only a day and run $100 or so. Others can last five days and cost close to a grand.

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Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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