By Ethan Guevin
Remember your worst slump, when you were ready to throw in the towel on your baseball career? The game was beating you up and it didn’t seem like you would ever be able to get back on your feet. But you didn’t give in. Baseball can be unforgiving, but you kept working hard, got the advice you needed, and pulled yourself out of it.
Now you are facing a different kind of challenge—the challenge of paying for your education and a chance to play college ball without the help of an athletic scholarship. If you are wondering how you are going to pay for your college education, you are not alone. Luckily, there are hundreds of organizations out there that want to help you. All you need is a little guidance and the willingness to work hard. We can start you off in the right direction and you can do the rest! Just like during that awful slump, you can pull through this challenge and have a chance to play college baseball.
Here are four places to start finding ways to finance your college experience.
1. FAFSA – Federal Financial Aid:
The first thing you should do is file for federal financial aid. By completing your Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms with the assistance of a parent or guardian, you are able to get need-based financial assistance in the form of federal grants, loans, and work-study assignments. Federal Student Aid helps over 15 million kids a year pay their college education. To see how much of the $150 billion a year in aid money you qualify for, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov.
2. College Board Scholarship Search and Other Scholarship Search Engines:
You would not believe some of the things you can receive scholarships for. Are you left-handed? Tall? A twin? Good at duck calling? Have a sibling in the military? Creative but don’t have great grades? There are scholarships out there for every talent, oddity, or personal circumstance imaginable. You just need to find the right one, click and apply. Check out some of the major scholarship databases, including College Board here. Another big scholarship engine is www.fastweb.com or try www.finaid.org which includes many different scholarship types and where to apply for them.
3. Baseball Specific Scholarship Organizations:
Many baseball-specific organizations have scholarships for players participating in their league or programs. Some American Legion teams and travelling teams sponsor scholarships and there are non-profit organizations that provide money specifically to baseball players looking to play college ball. Pro Ball Baseball Clinic Under the Radar is one such non-profit organization looking to give back and help high school players fulfill their college baseball and academic potential. For more information, check out their website here. The First Base Foundation is another organization that “works to ensure that prospective student athletes who have a desire to continue their athletic career on a collegiate level are not hindered by a lack of finances.” For more information, look here.
Many organizations like Under the Radar and First Base Foundation are looking to help athletes like you, so see what’s in your area and who is willing to help. Your efforts are likely to be rewarded.
4. Rotary Clubs, Libraries, and Other Community Organizations:
Search your community for local scholarships. Many organizations are eager to give tax-exempt scholarship money to proactive students who show a desire to succeed at the college level.
While it may take a lot of work, you can find ways to finance your college education even if you don’t get an athletic scholarship. Don’t throw in the towel. If you are willing to work hard and search out all your options, you can keep playing baseball.