Book Review: Peterson’s Sports Scholarships And College Athletic Programs

Peterson’s Sports Scholarships and College Athletic Programs (4th Edition), Edited by Ron Walker

Paperback – 872 pages; Peterson’s Guides

So, you’re a high school athlete with hopes of being a varsity player in college. You also believe that you’re good enough to attract the attention of college coaches who may offer you some scholarship money. Where do you go to find out what’s available? Well, this big Peterson’s guidebook is an excellent place to start your research. The promotional copy for this heavy tome states that Sports Scholarships is “the only all-inclusive, college-by-college look at intercollegiate athletic programs, sports scholarships, and other financial information designed for high school athletes who want to play at the intercollegiate level.” Sounds pretty impressive – and it is.

One small caveat readers of these kinds of compendium books should observe would be to keep in mind book-production lead times. The information you’ll find in these books may well be mostly accurate. However, it can take a up to a year or more to put a book like this together, so be prepared for some of the information to be either outdated or overtaken by events. One example of an overtaking event would be budget cuts. As state-government (and even private) budgets continue to be squeezed, some sports program funding cuts also occur. Accordingly, the scholarship or program you read today in books like this Peterson’s guide may not be available next week due to fiscal crises. Just be prepared to do deeper-level research and always remember to check with the ultimate source: the college or university itself.

A brief scan of the Sports Scholarships…contents reveals details on athletic programs at more than 1,700 two- and four-year schools, including their national association and conference affiliations. You’ll also get the names and phone numbers of team coaches, team sizes, descriptions of sports facilities, and student-athlete graduation rates. Again, times change, so the name of the coach you see here may not be same as the actual coach. Coaching changes happen frequently. Double check the school’s Web site, just to be sure.

The scholarship information is one of the more valuable features of the book. You’ll see the number of scholarships available and dollar amounts. Finally, there’s a master index that I found to be very helpful. It lists over 30 men’s and women’s sports (as it says, “everything from archery to wrestling”) and cross-references them to those schools offering those sports. All in all, then, this compilation may be one of the fastest ways a student (or parent) may be able to lay the foundation for a college plan that has, at its nucleus, a strong emphasis on varsity sports.

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