Fencing Scholarships: Combating Costly College

Touché! When a referee shouts this term in a sports competition where the participants use foil, épée, and saber, a score has been made by a player in a game called the art of defense or fencing.

It is exciting to be in the audience of a fencing game. It's just like watching an action movie where the characters are trying to defend themselves using blades. One cannot help but admire their moves and marvel at their agility, which are the results of numerous trainings and strict codes of discipline. Fencers are warriors who commit themselves to their goals of becoming the best at the game. More than becoming the best however, a player must not only be passionate about the use of blades and saber, but enthusiastic about his plans for college as well. Fortunately for fencers, there are a number of scholarship programs dedicated to helping them get through college sans the financial burden.

Qualifications and Requirements

To qualify for scholarship grants that colleges, universities, and organizations offer to athletic fencers, a student must be an official member of a national association of sportsmen or athletic students. An example of this is the NCAA or the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Generally, the NCAA is the one who assigns the number of scholarship grants allowed per school. Then it is up to the school to choose the athletes who deserve to receive financial assistance. Those who were not chosen can still apply for an athletic scholarship in the college or university of their choice.

When applying for a fencing scholarship, an applicant must not only be competitive in the sports but in the academics as well. He must have a good scholastic record and must be able to maintain a GPA of not lower than 3.2. The applicant must truly be passionate about fencing and must be willing to commit himself to rigorous training without sacrificing his class schedule. He must also possess leadership qualities and sportsmanship. More often than not, the scholarship program's evaluating panel prefers applicants who are active in the community.

The evaluating panel requires interested applicants to submit written objectives about fencing and its importance to their lives. They will also be required to submit recommendation letters, school or community nominations, and transcripts. The age and financial status of the applicants are also two determining factors for awarding scholarship grants.

The Scholarship Grant

Recipients of fencing scholarship grants get a lot of benefits. Typically, a scholarship grant is already inclusive of tuition and allowance. Sometimes, dorm rent and books are also included with the financial aid. Scholarship grants vary, but often range from $500 to $7,500. Apart from the financial assistance, other perks for being a fencing scholarship recipient is the privilege to compete in different places and to meet other fencers.

Institutions Offering Grants

Most colleges and universities all over the United States have athletic scholarship. However, not a lot of them offer scholarship exclusively for fencing players. Among those who have fencing scholarships are the Fencing Institute of Texas, the University of Alabama, and Columbia University. The Fencing Institute of Texas offers the prestigious Eric Wang Scholarship to a secondary graduate or college student who is enrolled in a reputable and government-recognized school. Fencers who are under this scholarship programs gets $500 each year. Requirements of the Eric Wang Scholarship include two letters of recommendation from fellow fencers and coaches, tax information, and transcripts.

Meanwhile, the University of Alabama's generous scholarship grant is $7,500. To qualify for this scholarship, the student must be a finalist in the intercollegiate fencing competition. He must have an excellent academic record with a GPA of not lower than 3.2. He must also be active in the community and in other extracurricular activities. Other requirements include a 200-word essay discussing the applicant's future goals, 3 letters of recommendation, and transcripts.

Columbia University's Herbert C. Spiselman Memorial Endowment for Fencing is another college-specific fencing scholarship. Named after a top fencer of the university's fencing team, this scholarship grant offers financial aid to those who will compete in prestigious fencing World Cups.

Apart from schools, scholarship grants can also be found in competitions. The William Fencing Tournament is an example of such competition. The fencer who will emerge as the champion will be awarded with a scholarship grant.

Scholarship Application Tips

Scholarship program applicants, especially those who use the post mail to send their requirements, should be aware of the end dates of their applications. This is due to the fact that post-mailed applications might not be able to reach their destinations on time for their deadlines. Keep in mind that post mail is sometimes unreliable. To avoid such snags, remember to send your applications and other requirements earlier, preferably weeks before their cutoff dates.