Cheerleading is not just about cheering on the sidelines with spirit. It is a physically demanding and highly competitive sport that requires skill, dedication, and teamwork. With the increasing popularity of competitive cheerleading, many college athletes may wonder if they can get rewarded for their talent through a cheerleading scholarship.
In this article, we will explore the possibility of obtaining a scholarship for cheerleading, the steps to obtain one, and the top universities that offer cheerleading scholarships.
Cheerleading scholarships can empower athletes to continue pursuing their passion for cheer along with academics at the college level. Athletic scholarships help athletes balance the demands of athletics with academics by removing some of the financial pressure of college education.
Scholarships for cheerleaders can help supplement any need-based financial aid or merit-based scholarship money provided by universities, allowing you to focus on your studies and sports instead of worrying about tuition.
Can You Get a Cheerleading Scholarship?
Cheerleading scholarships are available, but they are not as common as scholarships for more traditional sports such as football and basketball. Even though cheer is a sport, it is not officially recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which is in charge of college sports. As a result, there are no official recruiting regulations for cheerleading, and cheer coaches frequently receive less funding for offering scholarships at cheer programs.
However, the landscape of college cheerleading is changing, and opportunities for cheerleaders to earn scholarships are increasing. Top college cheer programs are more likely to offer cheerleading scholarships since they typically receive more funding from their institution. Some universities with top-tier college cheer programs may even give full-ride scholarships to a few of their top cheer squad members!
Outstanding cheerleaders may also be eligible for athletic scholarships provided by individual donors or athletic organizations. These scholarships can help supplement financial aid and scholarships offered by institutions.
How to Get a Cheer Scholarship
Cheerleading is a true representation of teamwork, commitment, and individual excellence. If you want to earn a cheer scholarship for college, being a top-tier cheerleader is just the beginning. Here are some tips to help you achieve your goal:
Elevate Your Skills
To start your journey towards a college cheerleading scholarship, work on improving your cheerleading skills. Join a competitive cheerleading squad or attend cheer camps to take your abilities to the next level. College cheer programs often require athletes to perform complex stunts, flips, and routines, so having a strong background in competitive cheerleading can give you an edge during tryouts.
Demonstrate Academic Excellence
Besides cheerleading skills, your academic performance is important in securing a cheer scholarship. Most colleges and universities that offer cheerleading scholarships require student-athletes to maintain a minimum GPA to be eligible. Therefore, balancing your commitment to cheerleading with your academic responsibilities is crucial when applying for cheer scholarships.
Maintaining good grades can also make you eligible for academic scholarships that honor students who have shown dedication to their studies. Earning academic scholarships can help college athletes enjoy financial stability while in school, allowing them to focus on their studies and cheerleading without worrying about tuition fees.
Craft Your Story Through a Recruiting Video
When it comes to getting cheerleading scholarships in college, a compelling recruiting video can be your most powerful tool. Be creative and use storytelling techniques to make a video that shows off your cheerleading skills and tells your story to college coaches.
Start by introducing yourself in an enthusiastic and authentic way. Talk about your background, your love for cheerleading, and why you want to be a part of a college cheerleading program. Then, showcase your cheerleading skills with precision and flair. Film your best routines, stunts, jumps, and tumbling, and make sure your dedication to perfecting your craft shines through. Your video should give college coaches a clear idea of what you can bring to their team.
But don't forget to add personal touches, too. Share stories about your journey in cheerleading, including any obstacles you've overcome. This will help coaches see the person behind the athlete and understand your unique qualities.
Finally, highlight your academic achievements. Mention your GPA, academic awards, and any extracurricular activities that make you a well-rounded student-athlete. This will show coaches that you're committed to your education and that you have the skills and dedication to succeed both on the field and in the classroom.
If you want to earn a cheer scholarship, you need to build relationships with college coaches. Here are some tips and tricks on how to network, connect with coaches, and get recognized for your talent and dedication:
Attend Cheerleading Competitions and Camps
Cheer competitions and camps provide valuable exposure and give you the chance to perform in front of college coaches and recruiters searching for cheerleaders. Sign up for regional competitions and cheerleading camps to stand out and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Research College Cheerleading Programs
Some universities host college clinics, which allow college cheer coaches to teach recruits what skills and routines will be performed at the school's tryouts and scout athletes. Take the time to research the college cheerleading programs you are most interested in joining, and keep an eye on their athletic calendar for any college clinics or open gyms. Attend college clinics to get the inside scoop on cheerleading tryouts and stand out to potential future coaches!
Reach Out to College Cheerleading Coaches
Once you've identified your target institutions, reach out to their cheerleading coaches. Craft a compelling and enthusiastic message expressing your interest in their program and cheerleading scholarship opportunities. Your initial contact should reflect your passion and commitment to continuing cheerleading in college!
Attend College Recruitment Days
Many colleges host recruitment days or informational sessions for prospective athletes. Attend these events to gain firsthand knowledge about the college cheerleading coach and program and to interact with coaches. These on-campus events are an excellent opportunity to ask questions and make a memorable impression on college cheerleading coaches!
FAQ About Cheer Scholarships
If you're interested in getting a cheer scholarship, you might have several questions in mind. Here are some frequently asked questions that might help:
What do I need to qualify for a cheer scholarship?
To qualify for a cheer scholarship, you need to have excellent cheerleading skills, a strong academic record, and a commitment to both your sport and studies. However, each college or university may have different specific requirements, so it's essential to research and meet their criteria.
How important is academic performance in securing a cheer scholarship?
Academic performance is crucial in earning a cheer scholarship. Most institutions have academic requirements that must be met to maintain eligibility. Balancing your commitment to both academics and cheer is essential.
Are there scholarship opportunities for non-competitive cheerleaders?
Yes, there are scholarship opportunities for cheerleaders who are not involved in competitive cheerleading. Some colleges provide scholarships to individuals who demonstrate a strong commitment to cheerleading and their community, even if they haven't competed at the national level.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to get a cheer scholarship, you're ready to start applying for scholarships!