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My attempt to answer most recruitment questions at once:

ImageIt is possible for you, as a coxswain, to get a college scholarship.

The colleges that can give scholarships are Division 1 schools and Division 2 schools, with Division 1 having more money to give than Division 2. Ivy League schools (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell), though they are Division 1 and often have some of the best crew teams, cannot give scholarships. The Ivy League, in fact, though its reputation is for academics, is really just an athletic conference, and one if the conference rules is that there are no athletic scholarships.

It is very unlikely that a coxswain would get a full scholarship. If you get one, you've probably been to jr. national team selection camp and/or development camp and won some pretty high stakes races. However, scholarships can be earned. You can enter the team as a walk-on and by senior year have a partial scholarship because you've made the varsity eight. Usually these decisions are pretty individual by coach though, especially with coxswains. Some coaches are former elite coxswains, and realize the importance of a good coxswain and diffiulty involved in finding one, while others have always rowed and might believe that any person who can weigh in will do.

As a side note, if you are male, or cox males, you will have a harder time finding a scholarship or even recruitment than females. Since Title IX, many schools have started women's crew teams in an effort to balance out the many scholarships given to men's football, so that equal amounts of money are given to men's and women's sports. At Uconn, for example (first thing in my head since we share a dock with them), the women's team is a well-funded Division 1 team with a large boathouse, while the men's team is a club sport coached by a student that doesn't yet have a boathouse. Ivy Leagues offer the same funding to men's and women's rowing teams; aside from that you'll find very few Division 1 men's teams.

Being recruited and getting a scholarship are two entirely different things.

Often, if a coach doesn't want to give you money or can't (division 3), they still have a certain level of influence in the admissions process that they might use to benefit you. This can be especially useful at highly selective schools like the ivies and elite liberal arts colleges like Williams, Swarthmore, Middlebury, and Trinity. Also, if the coach doesn't or can't give you a scholarship, they also sometimes have influence with the financial aid office so they can request that you receive more money, or that your aid be more in grants and less in loans. Probably the best way to go about that is to, after you have established a relationship with the coach and when you get your admissions decision, to call the coach and say that you'd really like to go and can't afford it with the aid you are currently getting. Of course, don't say that to 10 schools, and try to make sure it's true.

How do you get a relationship with the coach?

Usually, schools have recruiting forms on their rowing websites where you are asked to fill out some rowing and academic information. The best time to fill these forms out is early in your junior year. The NCAA has legal regulations about how often a coach can contact you, and they can't at all before Spetember 1st of your junior year, so filling out stuff before that is probably being a little too proactive. Usually the coach will contact you with a follow-up email after you have filled that out. If they invite you to respond, do not hesitate to contact them with any questions you might have or updates in your coxing career. Especially if you are a coxswain, and they can't judge you on erg scores, it is vital that you build some kind of a relationship with the coach. They are often very nice people who really do care about helping you. One coach called my coach, not to ask about my coxing, but to ask how he thought I'd adjust to living in a big city. Also, weight does matter to coaches to varying degrees. I know that we all know how little it does, but the fact is you probably will not cox at the Dvision 1 varsity level if you weigh over 115. D3 and club sports are a lot more relaxed about it, though that depends on the availability of light coxswains. The collegeiate minimum for women is 110 and for men is 125.

Coaches will also often invite you to visit and spend time with the team, and if you can, take them up on it. Crew is a sport where teams spend a lot of time together and team dynamics can be pretty important. Another good time to connect with coaches is big regattas, if your team goes, like Head of the Charles and Head of the Schuylkill. These races have a large range of age groups, so it could be an oppurtunity, not for long conversations, but just to say hi.

It's also usually a good idea to come up with a list of questions/requirements for the crew team that you will be on.

Like I said, team dynamics matter a lot but there might be other things, like amount of races or time spent practicing. You should figure out what you are looking for. It's also important to make sure that the school is an academic fit for you and offers whatever major you might want.

Also, if there is any possibility that you will participate in Division 1 or 2 sports you must fill out the NCAA Clearinghouse form to be eligible. It's a set of SAT/ACT and academic minumums that you must meet to participate. If you don't end up going to a D1 or 2 school, there's no penalty. The form can be found here:  

To find schools that are Division 1, 2, 3, or club in rowing, you can do a college search at the link below. The only requirement to specify is sport, gender, and level -- leave everything else blank, and it will generate a list of the sports at the appropriate genders and levels.  

This last link specifies NCAA recruiting and eligibility requirements. Good luck everyone and let me know if you have any further questions or if there's anything I forgot to elaborate on.