Natasha Siku, a US based college athlete, has urged aspiring and active athletes to pursue sports scholarships as individuals without solely depending on government or institutional based programmes. She highlighted that most athletes often sit on their talent when they fall short of the criteria used for selecting athletes who qualify for initiatives such as the Zebra Athletes Fund.
Natasha is a tennis player who attends Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut, majoring in Interactive Communications. She managed to find a scholarship opportunity for herself by searching for such scholarships online.
She has urged athletes not to rely only on BNSC or their affiliates to find athlete related scholarships. “It took me two years for my scholarship application to be approved, I never gave up. A majority of sports athletes cannot qualify for government or affiliate sponsored scholarships, they should take matters into their own hands and apply online. Many of them are fighting for the same spot, if rejected they should not sit on their talent or give up. There are so many opportunities for young athletes to empower themselves through sports, there is a prize in playing sport. US and other overseas schools are always looking for raw African talent,” Natasha told this publication.
Natasha highlighted that many athletes are disheartened by the fact that their associations often cease from sponsoring athletes when they are 18 years old and above but “that should not prevent them from venturing out on their own.”
“The first step is to google schools and identify what fits your needs. Enter the school’s website, look for a coach’s contacts and reach out to him or her. You should have a detailed profile and a video of yourself in action. If impressed, they will make an offer. They can offer 100 percent, 70 percent or 50 percent scholarships. The next step is to affiliate with the NCAA if accepted, you have to consistently submit your transcripts and keep your grades up to be on their good books. It is not easy, finances will also be important in your journey. Working hard is important, you have to maintain top form and make sure that your GPA is at least 2.0,” the tennis star added.
In her tenure at Post University she has been awarded an accolade for being the best academic student in her course, she is currently on the President and Dean’s list (a list of students recognized for academic achievement during a term by the dean of the college they attend).
She concluded by urging parents and guardians to support their children’s sporting careers. “People can use sports to get them where they want to be in life, athletes should not let their careers die. Many Batswana are not aware of this market, I will embark on an awareness campaign to help empower other athletes soon,” Natasha concluded.