Virtual High School is a diverse school with students of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles. Our asynchronous school model works particularly well for student-athletes. VHS’s self-paced model accommodates the busy training regimens of these students. Being a student-athlete in high school can be exhausting. Between classes, homework, training, and competitions, who has time to think about plans for college or university? Ideally, student-athletes will have the opportunity to pursue an athletic scholarship in Canada or the United States. The processes of recruiting and application, however, can be confusing and stressful. Here are six tips to help navigate the pursuit of athletic scholarships.

1. Understand the requirements for academic eligibility. 

Academic eligibility will vary based on the type of institution to which you are applying. For example, to be eligible for an athletic scholarship or athletic funding at a Canadian university, you must earn a grade point average of at least 80 percent in the courses used to determine your admission (U Sports 2017). Eligibility standards for a scholarship to an NCAA university in the United States are much more complex. Required core courses, a minimum GPA, and combined SAT or ACT test scores all determine eligibility. It’s important to understand these requirements as early in high school as possible, as even ninth grade courses can affect scholarship eligibility. For detailed information about eligibility requirements, visit the links under Additional Resources at the bottom of this page.

2. Pay attention to your grades in core courses. 

Core courses such as English, math, and science often affect eligibility requirements more so than other courses. NCAA institutions require a certain portion of core courses to be completed as well as a minimum overall GPA. Similarly, in Canada you will be required to complete specific core courses to earn your diploma. Those courses will greatly affect the overall average required in order to be eligible for athletic funding. 

3. Create and maintain close working relationships with your teachers and guidance counselors. 

As a student-athlete, you will likely miss more classes than most students, so it is crucial to communicate frequently with your teachers and guidance counselors. Their support will keep you on track and help to ensure that your academics are strong enough to achieve eligibility.   

4. Focus on short-term goals. 

The long-term goal is obvious: earn an athletic scholarship. To earn that scholarship, however, you will need to accomplish many short-term goals along the way. Focusing on the end goal of earning a scholarship can be overwhelming. After all, having to balance training, competing, and studying takes a physical and mental toll. Try to focus on achieving goals in shorter increments, such as daily or weekly goals. 

5. Take time to rest.

Aside from training, competing and studying, it is important to be well-rested. Without proper rest, athletics and academics tend to suffer—and therefore also the chances of earning a scholarship. Create and maintain a routine that includes a proper amount of sleep. This will help to minimize the exhaustion of maintaining a busy schedule. 

6. Explore student athlete resources to help guide you on your path to a scholarship. 

There are many resources available to high school student-athletes to help them attract the attention of coaches and recruiters, assist with eligibility concerns and help earn scholarships.  A highly reputable example of this is Next College Student Athlete (NCSA). NCSA has helped countless student-athletes find the scholarship opportunities that fit them best. Some of the key elements NCSA can help you with include

  • NCSA logoSetting goals and building an individual recruiting plan
  • Reviewing and planning for academic eligibility
  • Creating a compelling highlight video and getting it seen by coaches
  • Evaluating and projecting the best fit for your athletic abilities
  • Connecting you to coaches and assisting with communication training                                  
  • SAT/ACT test preparation
  • Application counseling and financial aid planning
  • Evaluating and leveraging scholarship offers
Additional Resources

Next College Student Athlete

A comprehensive resource for student athletes interested in pursuing an athletic scholarship.

Canada U Sports Eligibility

Eligibility package for those interested in playing University sports in Canada.

Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Eligibility

Student athlete information guide for those interested in playing College sports in Canada.

NCAA Division I Eligibility

Eligibility requirements for those interested in playing division 1 sports in the United States.

NCAA Division II Eligibility

Eligibility requirements for those interested in playing division 2 sports in the United States.

NCAA Division III Eligibility

Eligibility requirements for those interested in playing division 3 sports in the United States.

NAIA Eligibility

Eligibility requirements for those interested in playing sports in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in the United States.

NJCAA Eligibility

Eligibility pamphlet for those interested in playing sports in the National Junior College Athletics Association in the United States.



“Policies and Procedures 50 – Athletic Financial Awards.” U Sports, 1 Aug. 2017, usports.ca/uploads/hq/By_Laws-Policies-Procedures/English_2017/Policy pdf EN/Policy_50_Financial_Awards_(2017-2018).pdf.