Do Colleges Recruit Cheerleaders as They Do Other Athletes?
Question: My daughter is a cheerleader in middle school. She has a 3.9 GPA. She has not taken the SAT yet but her state test scores are about 80% of a perfect score so I am assuming that will translate to about 1272/1600 for the SAT (Is this a reasonable translation?) Do colleges recruit for cheerleading the way they do for other sports? Thanks
Colleges don't recruit for cheerleading as zealously as they do for many other sports, but some schools do offer scholarships or smaller perks for cheerleaders. If a high school student has been an especially successful cheerleader, this can also be an admissions-odd boost, especially at the Division 1 colleges with the most visible football and basketball programs (even when there aren't scholarships offered for cheering).
However, one thing that makes cheerleading different from most other Div. 1 college sports is that cheerleaders are selected based on a try-out. In other sports, athletes are typically recruited by college coaches while they are still in high school, and scholarship recipients often sign a "Letter of Intent" without having to attend a try-out for their college team. Cheerleaders, on the other hand, must be evaluated during a try-out. (Some colleges allow freshmen who live far from campus to submit a video instead.)
American Cheerleader magazine provides a long list of colleges with cheering scholarships. See http://www.americancheerleader.com/ACMEBook/
You can find shorter, less comprehensive lists via Google, on various Web sites such as these:
Above all, you can do your own research when your daughter gets closer to college age in order to determine if the colleges that interest her have any scholarship money available or are eager to add more cheerleaders to the student ranks and might view her talent and experience as an admission "hook." It's hard to translate state test scores into SAT scores, especially for a student who isn't even in high school yet, but when it gets closer to the time to look seriously at colleges, you will have real PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores. You will also know her high school GPA and overall tumbling ability by then, which will help you to hone in on realistic options.
WARNING: There is no need to pay for an "expert" to find college cheering scholarships for your daughter or to connect your daughter to the right coaches. You can do this easily on your own, if you feel that she is sufficiently qualified.
You'll find more advice about preparing for college cheering here: http://www.ihigh.com/guidetoathleticscholarships/article_32981.html
Perhaps once this "Ask the Dean" Q &A is posted on the College Confidential forum, some current college cheerleaders or their parents can add some from-the-trenches wisdom, too.
Good luck to you as you enter the college quagmire ... or perhaps I should just say, "Cheers!" ;)