US College Scholarships
Many of the top high school crew rowers are offered full scholarships to American universities. Some of these have reached as much as $30,000 per year covering most of the costs for tuition, training, travel and lodging. There are proportionately higher number of female rowers given these opportunities than male rowers ever since 1972 with the passing of Title IX, a portion of the United States Education Amendment Act. Essentially, the law states that no person on the basis of gender shall be denied the benefits of any educational program. What this means is that any university must offer the same number of athletic scholarships to women as men. Because there are so many young men recruited for large football, basketball and track teams, the women’s rowing crews have been expanded and extremely competitive with each university seeking the very best athletes available for their programs.
As an example, the 2014 women’s rowing crews at the University of Texas featured four Ontario women, three at University of Miami, two at the University of Buffalo and many more.
So, let’s take a look at what you need to do. First, research the athletic programs offered by your dream universities. Don’t simply look at the availability of athletic scholarships as some offer need-based or academic scholarships.
Secondly, to improve your eligibility for NCAA scholarships, take challenging courses and obviously, do well in them. Academic results are just as important with a perfect combination of brains and brawn having the best chances for future review and positive results. Academically, there is standardized testing and these should be prepared for and taken well ahead of time. SAT’s and other similar tests are important to most, though not all schools. Again, do your research to see which test is required by the schools you want to receive your application.
And of course, your rowing results and training scores must be sufficient to attract the interest of coaches. Keep verified results of your erg scores and frequencies for 2000 metres and 6000 metres. Results of your races, placements, and times are critical reports of your performance on the water. Keep an up to date resume of these, as well as your own personal statistics of height, weight and boats and crews you have rowed with.
Will you fit in well with a team culture? Are your work and training ethics serious? Have you kept a continuous physical training schedule? Will your current and past coaches recommend you for your enthusiasm in these?
Social media can help or hinder your chances. There are no clear expectations of privacy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so be careful of your postings. Recruiters will surely search out your activity as a measure of your personality and lifestyle.
And finally, e-mail the Head Coach of each program you wish to apply to. Then follow up with regular contact outlining your athletic and academic achievements.
Rowing crew recruiting is very competitive with many high school rowers and coxswains seeking recruiting spots on college teams. Many universities offer positions even before Christmas in your senior high school year, so make an early start. By doing your best with your rowing, academics and high school/club team participation, you put yourself in the strongest position to get one of those coveted spots.