For the more than 3.5 million high school students participating in competition riflery, most of you would be shocked to realize that your sport also has opportunities to compete and earn college scholarships at the NCAA level. Last year alone, the National Rifle Association donated nearly a million dollars to more than 300 youth shooting programs across the United States with the goal of continuing the rapid growth of this increasingly popular sport. All of the emphasis now placed on high school shooting programs is attracting more and more attention from the NCAA level. Although the NCAA does not recognize all kinds of competition shooting, 42 NCAA programs now sponsor the sport of small-bore (.22 calibre) riflery.
Although there are no officially sponsored NCAA scholarships available for riflery, several private sponsors and donors are very generous in providing high school shooters with college rifle scholarships. Not surprisingly, the top national scholarship for riflery is provided by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA’s Grand Scholarship is valued at $20,000 and is awarded annually at the NRA Youth Education Summit (YES). At this competition, high school–aged participants are judged based on their online application, oral presentation, and of course, their shooting scores. Applicants are also required to introduce an NRA-sponsored firearms education program into their communities. All of these factors and participation in multiple YES competitions are taken into account to decide the most deserving candidate of the sport’s most substantial scholarship. Several other minor scholarships are available to students with more particular backgrounds and circumstances and they range from $1,000 to more than $10,000 per semester.
With the NCAA sport of riflery still in its infancy, the vast majority of high school shooters do not even know that their sport exists at the college level. For this reason, college rifle coaches are constantly on the lookout for high school shooters willing to compete at the NCAA level. But with only 42 schools in the country offering college riflery, the process of searching for programs and contacting coaches can be difficult and confusing. This is where an athletic recruiting company such as FirstPoint USA can be an invaluable resource. With our database of more than 12,000 college coaches, including more obscure sports such as riflery, we have the knowledge and resources to put you into contact with NCAA riflery coaches who would otherwise be extremely difficult to find.