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Achieving an Athletic Scholarship

How to Design Your Resume

As a prospective student athlete it is important your recruitment resume is professional, short and dynamic. The United States tertiary education system is a fantastic opportunity to compete at an extremely high level, earn an accredited degree and finally travel the United States. This section will provide you with ideas on what collegiate coaches look for in regards to a resume and other information that will broaden your chances of attaining an athletic scholarship.

Resume Content

The content of your collegiate recruitment resume has to be informative but precise. The five most critical elements that will make up your recruitment resume are presented below:

  1. Personal Information
  2. Education
  3. Ambition
  4. Game Development
  5. References

Personal Information

Like any professional resume you have to provide general information. This will include your name, contact information and personal details. This information has to be clear and easy to read. For example:

Contact Information

Jackie Smith

489 John Road

Ottawa, ON

J5B 4H6


Ph: 613-987-7777

Email: jackiesmith@hotmail.com

Personal Information:

Date of Birth: 29th July 1991

Height: 6-0 ft / 180cm

Weight: 165 lbs / 72kg


When compiling your educational background the information must be concise. Ensure you include your high school’s name and the date that you are anticipating to graduate. If you have already graduated, enter your graduation date and the accreditation that you earned (for example, High School Diploma). It is a good idea to list the subjects that you completed in your final two years of high school.


There is nothing more impressive than a player who can set and work directly towards accomplishing goals. Display your strengths in character and personality, and how you can contribute to their team. Present your academic and athletic goals and demonstrate why you will be an asset to their team. This is an excellent way to grab the attention of each coach who reads your recruitment resume.

Game Development

This is the most important part of your resume. Display your accomplishments as an athlete and ensure that you rank them in an order of relevance (see below)

  • ATP or WTA ranking (without accepting prize money)
  • ITF Junior ranking
  • National Junior ranking
  • Provincial Junior ranking
  • Major tennis achievements

Diversity is also important as you can acknowledge your achievements in other sports. For example if you were a member of your school’s cross-country team that made it to provincial finals.


As an international recruit you want to provide your prospective coach with contact references. Three references are recommended as it gives the coach a wide variety of people to contact. You can have each person provide a written reference that you send with each package or at the end of your resume provide the contact details of each reference so they can be contacted.

Below is an example of how to provide the contact details of a personal reference:

Mike Willox

Head Tennis Coach

Elite Tennis Club

135 Smith Road

Ottawa, ON




Telephone: 613-595-5555

Mobile: 613-595-5556


The presentation of your recruitment resume is essential. It needs to include the critical factors of correct grammar, an easy to read format (font style and size) and have a professional look. These are formalities but there is also plenty of room to show your creativity. You want your resume to standout. It has to be explosive so it sets you apart from every other resume that your prospective coach has received.

This might be adding in pictures of yourself playing tennis or receiving an award, or a media page where you have received acknowledgment throughout your community. This shows creativity and flair. Remember that you are competing against the rest of the world for this collegiate scholarship and displaying what separates you from everyone else is vital.

Additional Recommendations

There are a few other minor points that you have to remember to add into your resume:

  • If you have taken or plan to take the A.C.T. or S.A.T exam let the coach know. Give them your score or the date when you are going to sit your exam. As a player, it would be best to take your standardized tests mid-way through grade 11, that way you will have the opportunity to retake the SAT or ACT by the end of grade 11. While most commitments happen in the fall of grade 12, there is a trend happening at the top schools toward commitments during the second half of grade 11.
  • Players should also know that some of the top academic schools require SAT subject tests in addition to the SAT (or ACT). There are about 25 colleges that require them, most of which require two subject tests and a few require three.
  • Make sure that you follow up your resume with the coach. This can be a simple email or phone call to see if they have received your resume and if they are interested. Coaches are busy for 12 months of the year so being proactive and following things up will display a sense of eagerness and passion.
  • There is a good chance that you post 65 resume packages and only hear replies from 10 programs. It is important not to get deterred by this. Some coaches might already have their athlete roster finalized, or don’t have any seniors graduating and therefore don’t have any spots available (you should look at their roster first and see how many seniors they have graduation), or maybe you might not be strong enough for their program.
  •  Also, it is important to note why coaches don’t always respond, so you know not to be deterred. Coaches receive hundreds of prospects contacting them and can’t always keep up, and some may not have the best communication skills! As a player, you should not assume that a lack of response means a lack of interest. In this case, make sure you follow up with a second or even third e-mail in the months after the initial outreach in case your resume was lost in the shuffle, and/or to remind the coach who you are.

Remember to make your recruitment resume creative, professional, short and dynamic. There are over 250 male and 300 female Division I Collegiate tennis programs so keep looking!


It is important to note that the number of scholarships at each division varies; also the number of scholarships at each school in a certain division varies too. It is important to note that just because a school is D1, or D2, it does not mean that they will have the full compliment of scholarships, or that they’ll have any at all. For instance, some of the most recognized schools in D1 (Ivy League) such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Georgetown, Bucknell etc… don’t offer any scholarships for tennis.

If your athletic and academic ability is suitable for a university or college, they can offer you an athletic scholarship to assist in offsetting your educational expenses.  The contract of this scholarship is called the National Letter of Intent.  A National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a contract signed between the prospective student athlete and the Institution.  The prospective student athlete must be eligible for athletic financial aid and eligible to enroll in the institution in accordance with the NCAA rules. The NLI is valid for however many years the coach initially wants to sign you for. It may be a one year contract, or it may be a multi-year contract. One-year contracts are usually renewed each year unless there are academic or disciplinary problems with the player. Once a player has signed, the student athlete is bound to that institution for the academic year(s) (duration) outlined in the contract.  Student athletes cannot be actively recruited by another institution or coach unless provided permission by the student athlete’s current institution.

A full scholarship as ruled by the official guidelines will include all of but not exceeding the following components:

  • Full coverage of tuition and fees.
  • Full coverage of required text books only.
  • Full coverage of room and board in an institution’s dormitory or an equivalent stipend cheque for student athletes who live off campus.
  • On campus meal plan that can be utilized on campus or an equivalent stipend cheque for student athletes who live off campus.

It is recommended that you research your scholarship options to ensure the institution has an undergraduate academic program, suitable athletic program and appropriate financial payment options.  Listed below are key points in choosing a college or university

  • List priorities (academics, athletes, financial cost, accessibility and environment)
  • Ensure the institution fits your priority list
  • Tuition and fees can vary; ensure you compare your options
    • If institution A costs $10,000 per year and institution B costs $18,000 per year, you have to consider the type of scholarship each institution offers.

This is the maximum allowance that an institution can allocate for a student athlete in one academic year. Any additional benefits allocated by the institution may be determined as a violation and constitute an NCAA investigation.