There are many myths and misinformed beliefs that we see affect a player’s success as they try to find the right college fit. One is called the “full ride syndrome”. Numerous times I’ve had a young player or their parent make the comment that they were only going where they would get a full ride. They felt they deserved a full ride because of their hard work, dedication, and a good resume. While I completely understand why a player would feel this way, there are many “big picture” factors to consider that could override the “full ride syndrome”.
One factor is the coach’s current scholarship situation. Many times a coach only has so much scholarship money available for the current recruiting class. They may be offering you the best deal they can possibly give you. Don’t take this to mean they want you any less than a coach who does have a full ride available.
Don’t be turned off by a coach trying to get you academic money, along with golf money. Some coaches don’t have all of their scholarships fully funded and need to find ways to get players money that doesn’t take away from their golf scholarships. Even if the program is fully funded, a coach is trying to build a full team of great players, so they have to consider how they can spread their scholarships out in order to do their job successfully. If you are a good student who can get academic money, then be willing to help the coach out and take what you can in terms of academic money. I promise this will go a long way in earning brownie points with the coach.
Yes, as a student-athlete myself who financially needed every dollar possible with scholarship money, I understand that some scenarios just don’t make sense when compared to a full offer at another school. But if it’s down to a small difference that is doable for your family, don’t let that small difference be the factor simply because one is a full ride and one isn’t. A few thousand dollars a year won’t seem like much if you get to a program where you aren’t happy, you aren’t playing and you aren’t improving. Try to consider your options based on what you want from the school, program, and coach, not on the difference in terms of scholarship.
I know I tell my story about scholarship money several times a year but it’s a great example of not getting caught up in the coaches who were offering me full golf as opposed to the program I wanted to play for where I needed a golf/academic/need based combo in order to get a full ride. I knew where I wanted to play that I wasn’t going to be a full golf scholarship candidate due to my lack of national-level golf experience. I had full golf offers to several great schools with mid-D1 golf programs but I had my mind set on top-ranked Furman University. So rather than taking the full golf ride, I took the more challenging route where I had to keep my grades up to maintain my academic money, while also working my butt off to travel and play every tournament. But for me, Furman was where my heart and gut told me I needed to be in order to become the player I wanted to be.
Always make sure you keep the #1 factor for making your decision about the right fit and not about scholarship dollars. If you go into coach interviews with an “I want a full ride” or “I deserve a full ride” attitude you can quickly turn a coach off. Yes, there comes a point in the process where you have the leverage to ask where you stand with the coach regarding scholarship money but always approach it with a humble attitude. There may be some room for negotiating but approach that with caution because it may turn a coach away if you try to negotiate too much, especially if you don’t have much leverage.
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