How to Get a Full-Ride Scholarship for Gymnastics

How to Get a Full-Ride Scholarship for Gymnastics

Are you a talented gymnast looking for financial aid in gymnastics? If you are, you are now probably wondering, ‘where do I start?’ Do not worry, in this blog post; I will explain to you all you need to know on how to get a full-ride scholarship for gymnastics.

There are thousands of talented gymnasts out there; however, there are limited opportunities for scholarships. Of all the formal athletics organization out there, only NCAA awards scholarship opportunities to both male and female students meaning the funding pool is highly competitive. With fewer than 100 institutions competing in gymnastics, your main goal will be finding your right fit and also ensuring that your preferred institution needs you as well.

How Good do I Need to Get a Gymnastics Scholarship?

As a college gymnast, you will be expected to compete in several different gymnastics disciplines. To maximize your chances of winning a scholarship, you will need to showcase the strengths that college coaches need.

How do I Get a College Gymnastics Coach to Evaluate Me?

 To make it easier for you to showcase your talent, create videos and send them to college coaches. It is advisable to create a YouTube where you can post your coolest gymnastics moves videos. This will also give coaches a chance to evaluate you since they mostly use videos to analyze the talent of potential scholarship candidates. Once they have narrowed down the number of their potential recruits, they then make a point of personally seeing the potential recruit in action. You could also take the initiative to visit the coaches in their colleges. This shows maturity and a strong desire to join the school. 

You should also ensure that your grades are impressive. To receive a scholarship you need a GPA of at least 3.5, a Math and Reading SAT score of 1140, be in the top 20% of your class or a composite score of 100 ACT. You will also need many references, preferably your coaches and teachers. They will need to testify to your abilities in class and the gym once the college coaches get into contact. 

Also, make sure that you are listed and all your scores in your previous competitions are up to date on online scoring websites. NCAA coaches love using these online scoring websites to scout potential recruits and also monitor their performances.

What Will Improve my Chances for a Scholarship?

To convince the coaches that you are a great talent, you will need to provide proof and stay in constant communication with them. Since coaches will not inform you when they are no longer interested, make sure you always keep them updated of your academics and athletics achievements. Use the power of social media to your advantage to reach out to college coaches and ensure you maintain professionalism on all your social media channels. Try and find out if there are tryouts or camps the coaches will be attending. Then make sure you sign up and participate so that the coaches can see you in action.

What Happens During the Gymnastics Recruiting Process?

The critical question coaches will be asking themselves is, are you able to compete at multiple disciplines? At this particular stage coaches expect all Division I gymnasts to compete and finish highly at Level 10. For the girls, you are expected to have competed at regional competitions. In other programs, recruits are expected to have competed in National and International competitions.

What Are the Academic Eligibility Requirements?

The National College Athletics Association (NCAA) has set their minimum academic grades required for qualification to their program. However, they are not high enough to get you into university. To be considered for either NCAA Division I or NCAA Division II sports you will need to achieve the minimum academic requirements before you are considered. For Division I you must have a minimum of a 2.3 GPA, and for Division II you must score a minimum 2.2 GPA.

To participate in Division III sports, the qualification academic requirements are stipulated by the college you would like to attend. The lowest qualification you can attain and also attain a gymnastics scholarship as a partial qualifier to Division I and Division II institutions is a minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

How Many Gymnastics Scholarships are Available, and What Schools Offer Them?

Gymnastics scholarships for college athletes are offered by in the NCAA Division I, Division II and Division III levels. NCAA Division III level does not offer athletic scholarships, but you can be guaranteed of receiving other forms of financial aid.

The number of scholarships offered to each team, every year and each division is not constant since the numbers are always changing. Not all colleges eligible to access these scholarships will choose to do so. For example, Ivy League universities prefer not to offer athletic scholarships to their students. 

Gymnastics is considered to be both a head-count sports and an equivalency sport. In the NCAA Division I level, women receive full athletics scholarships. In the NCAA Division II level, the number of awards that are going to be divided among the athletes will be decided by the coaches.

Women’s Gymnastics

NCAA DI: 12 scholarships per term
NCAA DII: 6 scholarships per term

Men’s Gymnastics

NCAA DI: 6.3 scholarships per term

Number of Schools with Gymnastics Programs

Women’s Gymnastics

NCAA DI: 62
NCAA DII: 7 
NCAA DIII: 13
Total: 82

Men’s Gymnastics

NCAA DI: 16
Total: 15

What are the Top Programs in Each Division?

Do not forget we earlier mentioned that NCAA gymnastic scholarships are limited. You must conduct in-depth research on where each program recruits and also spend time knowing each program. The list below provides some of the best gymnastics programs in the entire United States.

Women Gymnastics Program

Alabama, Oklahoma, UCLA, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Stanford, Oregon State, Utah, LSU, Nebraska, Illinois, Penn State, Missouri, Auburn, Iowa State, Southern Utah, Boise St., Kentucky, Arizona, Denver, Washington, Central Michigan, Minnesota.

Men’s Gymnastics Program

Stanford, Michigan, Oklahoma, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Temple, UIC, Air Force, William & Mary.

Alternatives to the NCAA Gymnastics Scholarships

Not everyone gets into the NCAA gymnastics scholarships program. To be on the safe side, it wouldn’t hurt to talk to your high school coaches and ask them to give you a list of colleges or gyms offering internal gymnastics scholarships so that you can apply. Below are examples of such awards

Collage Based Scholarships

Not all colleges rely on the NCAA gymnastics scholarships. Some colleges offer internal awards that have been set up to honor important figures in the school as well as alumni who attended the school. For example, Kent State University has a gymnastics scholarship known as the Michael D. Aquino Gymnastics Scholarship. 

Local Gymnastics Scholarships

Not all high schools offer dedicated gymnastics facilities for their gymnasts, so chances are you train at your local gymnastics gym. You should conduct research or talk to one of your coaches to figure out if they offer to fund for their gymnasts in college. You could also ask your coach to help you identify local or state resources where competition is most likely to be lower than scholarships awarded by national organizations. For example, Michael Sims Scholarship is granted solely to Texas gymnasts looking to further their higher education. It is essential to explore these local and state scholarships because even in you were awarded college-based scholarships chances are it won’t be a full scholarship.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please check out this post on How to Join the US Gymnastics Team.

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How to Get a Full-Ride Scholarship for Gymnastics
Article Name
How to Get a Full-Ride Scholarship for Gymnastics
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This article is a step by step guide on the different strategies that gymnasts can use to maximize their chances of winning a scholarship award for gymnastics.
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Gymnastics Bar