Smart + Athlete = Ideal College Player

by Dominic Tinodi

Being "Smart" and "athletic" is a great combination. Not only for college sports, but rather for a young person's life in general. Our Friday Scholarship Guide today is all about why you would wanna "be smart" besides being a great football player, runner, or tennis player. And we explain the making of our name: Smarthlete.

Photo credit: Dominic Tinodi

College sports are competitive. As a matter of fact very few high school students ever receive an offer to study on a sports scholarship and find themselves in the line-up of a varsity team. It's actually a really low percentage of high school athletes, who go on to study on a scholarship. (Read more on this a little later)

So, smartness and athlete. Reason enough for us to focus on those two characteristics, when we were looking for a matching name for our online recruiting platform. Why be a good athlete? Well, that's pretty obvious. But why smart? Here's our view on this:

Smarthlete

We have realized people sometimes refer to us as "Smartathlete". If you take a close look, you'll realize it's actually Smarthlete, essentially leaving out the first two letters of the second word athlete: at. While Smartathlete would have also been fine with us, we decided for the shorter and smoother version Smarthlete. No big deal, as long as you find us online. In case you've been in doubt, here we go from now on :)...

As our service not only addresses American (English-speaking) kids it was important for us to ensure that our name can also be pronounced easily in other languages. This works nicely in French, German, Swedish, or Italian. Alright, we haven't figured out how Mandarin- or Russian-speaking students are dealing with it yet, but please do let us know if you're one of them :)



Smart

Here at Smarthlete, we associate the word Smart with college sports for several reasons:

  • College sports is a smart choice
    There are thousands of families each year taking on loans to finance their kids' higher education at college. With an average 32,762 USD per year for tuition, fees, and room and board (public four-year out-of-state in 2014-15), very few families or even students can pay these sums all by themselves. While there are various reasons for receiving financial aid, you as a great sports(wo)man are in the best position to receive parts or all of your studies financed.
    You have the huge chance to study at a lower cost than you will ever be able to do in the future. Why is that you might ask? Well, don't forget that athletes must comply with the eligibility rules set by the sport governing bodies (e.g. NCAA), regulating the age at which you are allowed to compete in intercollegiate sports. In addition, investing your time in becoming really good at a sport will help you and your families finance your studies significantly. Even got siblings who might wanna study as well? Add that to the equation.
  • You gotta be smart
    No one said getting into college is easy. It's a strenuous long process, costing you time, money and surely some nerves. Colleges have specific minimum requirements for you to be accepted by the admissions office. While some universities are stricter than others when it comes to athletes actually fulfilling them, you shouldn't be terribly off. In the best case you will study for four full years, going from freshman to senior class. Handling classes and exams at the same time as practice and matches is a challenge. Even more so, when tests and finals coincide with important matches. Not to forget scholastic test results (ACT or SAT), which you have to deal with all by yourself before getting into college.
  • Coaches like smart
    Yes, in the first place college coaches are interested and responsible for the success of their teams. But, athletes need to take a certain number of classes at the same time as maintaining a minimum GPA not to risk becoming ineligible. To have a "redshirted" athlete on the team hurts the squad, as the individual must not compete for the team. The coach thus has a major interest in recruiting athletes, who have proven to deliver results in the class room as well.

Athlete

Explaining the background for choosing "athlete" is not as great a challenge as the term "smart". You can be best in class and deliver outstanding application materials - you will still not receive an athletic scholarship if you don't have what it takes on the court, pitch or in the pool. By comparing the number of college athletes and high school athletes, 7.6% of all U.S. high school boys and 7.9% of all U.S. high school girls move on to compete in college sports (2013-14).

Do you think you can make the college way? Wonderful, then sign up for Smarthlete, set up your profile, and connect directly with college coaches on Smarthlete. (Please note that our service is currently only open for tennis players and tennis college coaches)

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