Most scholarship hunters can begin with online clearinghouses and Internet sites that provide scholarship search services. This approach does not apply to efforts to secure a mascot scholarship, however. The only requirement common to all available mascot scholarships is that individuals must try out for them, so it is necessary for any would-be mascot either to be planning to attend a specific school or be a current student trying out for the upcoming academic year.
At most schools, the mascot is supervised by the cheerleading coach though may or may not be actively involved in cheer routines. Further, there is no commonality relative to what – if any – scholarships schools offer to their mascots. Some schools provide only a team logo duffel bag; some provide scholarships for books; a few even offer “full ride” scholarships for current mascots. Thus the first step in pursuing a mascot scholarship is to determine which schools offer such a scholarship.
High school seniors face another caveat. If a high school senior intends to try out for the mascot position at the favored school, the student needs to know more than how much a scholarship might be worth and the names of key contact people. Some schools do not allow freshmen to serve as team mascots. A high school senior seeking to be a team mascot needs to ensure that the favored school or schools do not have such a restriction on class standing.
It is tempting to say that smaller schools are more likely to offer scholarships than larger ones, but that does not appear to be the case. As example, Appalachian State University in the mountains of North Carolina offers cheerleaders and the mascot full student athlete status. As such, Appalachian State furnishes these team members game tickets, all uniform items and a meal stipend when they travel with athletic teams. At the other end of the spectrum, the University of Nevada at Reno provides only practice clothes, uniforms, game tickets and access to University trainers.
Few schools with top-rated cheerleading squads or top-rated mascots offer scholarships of any kind to any of those individuals. An example is the University of Tennessee, whose cheer team and mascot consistently place highly in collegiate cheer and mascot competitions. The reputation is respectable, and competition for the few spaces available each year is intense. This and other schools whose cheer and mascot programs operate on the same level have more demand for tryouts than they have spaces to fill. They can attract superlative athletes without offering scholarships, so that is their preferred approach.
Where scholarships are offered to mascots, the tryout is all-important, of course. The typical tryout requires a skit embellished with gymnastic stunts. Some schools require those trying out to wear the school mascot’s uniform, but others do not. Some schools require some kind of costume that the mascot hopeful has to supply. This is a huge advantage to the individual trying out for the mascot position. Mascot headpieces are far from uniform. Some can be quite large but lightweight, while others are quite heavy. Adding unaccustomed size or weight to gymnastic routines without opportunity to practice with the official costumes places everyone but the current mascot at a disadvantage.
The bottom line is that many schools offer no monetary reward at all; others provide enough for books; still others offer full athletic mascot scholarships. The key is to identify schools first, then to contact the cheerleading coach and the financial aid office. The cheerleading coach will provide tryout information.
- College Cheerleading Scholarships. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2011 from http://www.angelfire.com/falcon/cheer06/scholarships.html Mascot Tryouts and Camps. (n.d.).
- Mascot.net Retrieved April 16, 2011 from http://www.mascot.net/tryout.html.