Starting the process to change your life and move to America on a sports scholarship is of course, a very exciting time but no doubt each athlete and their parents have many questions, below we have answered some of your mostly commonly asked questions.
If we have missed any of your questions please contact us and we would be more than happy to answer your questions.
What does a full scholarship cover?
A full scholarship will cover your tuition books and fees, accommodation, meal plan, and all aspects of your related sport, coaching, competition entries and clothing. Scholarships are awarded on a percentage basis from 0-100%, it will usually depend on the budget each college coach has for that particular recruiting year.
What does a scholarship not cover?
The scholarship will not cover your travel to and from the united states, this is against the NCAA rules. Also every aspect of living in the United States will be covered by the student athlete themselves. I.e Going to the cinema etc.
Who decides whether to accept a scholarship offer?
This decision comes down to each athlete and their families, of course the College Sports America team will advise you on each offer and provide a detailed run down of the college/university and advise you with their professional experience.
What is the NCAA?
The NCAA is the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It’s the major governing body for intercollegiate athletics. More than 1200 colleges and universities are members of the NCAA. It’s a “non-profit” organization whose revenue in 2015-2015 was almost $1 Billion.
What is the difference between the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA?
NCAA DIVISION 1
When people think of playing at a US college, this is the level they think of. However people do not realise how difficult it is to be able to play at this level. Firstly, there are a lot of regulations about the number of international students they are allowed to have on their rosters. Secondly, it is very difficult academically to be eligible to play at this level. This therefore means that the type of players who end up playing at this level, coming from outside the US, usually come from very strong sporting backgrounds.
A few examples of the level of athlete each coach may be looking for, in Soccer it would be a player realised from a premier league or Bundesliga team.
In Golf it would be a player competing regular for his country, or a player ranked inside the top 800 in the WAGR, with very successful national results.
However, don’t feel like you don’t have what it takes. A lot of student-athletes start off at NJCAA, NAIA and NCAA Division 2 and if they perform on the field AND in the classroom, they are able to transfer. So you may not go straight to Division 1, but you may end up there after 1 or 2 years. The impetus is on you to perform.
NCAA DIVISION 2
This is probably the most popular option for most student-athletes coming from outside of the US due to fewer regulations on the number of foreign athletes on a roster and also the lower academic barriers to be eligible.
NCAA Division 2 schools are usually a lot smaller than NCAA Division 1, but don’t let that put you off. In bigger schools, your team may not be popular as they will have basketball and American football teams which are shown on TV and people won’t really care about yours, but at the Division 2 level, you have the chance to shine through the university and be a bigger fish in a slightly smaller pond.
If going pro is your aim, NCAA Division 2 is still a great platform to be seen. Many athletes every year go pro from this level and to be honest, if you are performing to that standard, a NCAA Division 1 school would come knocking after 2 years at least (as long as your academics are up to scratch).
A coach normally wouldn’t offer a large scholarship to a new student-athlete coming in from outside of the US, because usually they normally wouldn’t be up to scratch to start for the team. Over the years you will increase your playing time and the scholarship would normally increase.
This level is somewhat similar to NCAA Division 2 in terms of size of the school and also the level of sports. You do often find that an NAIA team has a LOT of foreign players. This is due to the few regulations in comparison to other levels.
You will usually find a scholarship of somewhere between the 50-70% mark just due to the coach having a slightly lower budget.
If going pro is your aim, then many players from NAIA make it every year. It is a great platform to show of your sporting abilities as the professional scouts and teams understand there are many very talented athletes on show in the NAIA.
The NJCAA is the baby of all the divisions in the US, however it is not something to be rejected in the slightest. NJCAA schools are only 2 years long. You go to these THEN you transfer to a 4 year institute (NCAA, NAIA). The level of sport is often on par with NAIA and NCAA Division 2 and from my experience in certain sports the level is higher at the NJCAA level.
This is a great route for athletes looking to get higher scholarship money, but who also have lower standard of academics. It is essentially a great way of getting in the door and being seen. Coaches from NCAA D1, D2 and NAIA levels would rather take a player from NJCAA then from outside of the US (like you are right now). This is because they can see you in the college sports setting, but see how your academics are doing within the US system.
I want to play NCAA Division 1, is that possible for me?
This is one of the questions we hear from many athletes. Now, of course, every athlete wants to play NCAA D1 but there are many factors to take into account.
Firstly, are you good enough to play and compete at the absolute highest D1 level? When going over to America, one of the most important factors is actually representing your university, playing and travelling with the team. This is very important! Staying home and going to class while your teammates are at an important tournament or road game is no fun and is not fulfilling your American dream.
The most important thing for each college coach is to win the national championship, which takes place annually. Each team will have to go through a series of qualifying events in their respective conferences and regions and many teams miss out each year. If you are being recruited by a team that does not make the national tournament on a regular basis, it might be a much more interesting option attending a Division 2 university, that competes for a national championship year in and year out.
Furthermore, the competitive level between the Top D2 colleges and a lot of D1 programmes is really not big at all and very often not existent in any way, shape or form. We therefore advice our student athletes to always keep their options open and to never shut the door on any college programme, just because he or she thinks that there are only good teams playing in D1 and not any other divisions. This is not the case and athletes find this out for themselves once they head over to the US.
What does a typical day look like for a student athlete?
Each day will differ from sport to sport but a general day will consist of weight/cardio training at 6.30am for an hour, you will then go to one of up to seven restaurants for breakfast.
Classes will run from 8.30am until around 12 possibly will gaps in-between classes.
Lunch will be from 12.30 until 13.30, you will then join your team around 13.30 and be at practice with your team and coaches until around 17.30.
You will then have time to relax until choosing which restaurant you would like to eat in with your friends, after dinner is your own time to study, hang out with friends and get some rest.
6.30am 7.30-8.30 8.30-12.30 12.30-13.30 13.30-17.30 18.30-20.30 20.30
Weight / Breakfast Classes Lunch Team Dinner Free time.
What if I do not like it in America?
We understand for some athletes making the move to America can be a daunting prospect, and if for some reason you become homesick or just don’t settle into the American way of life, then of course you can come home at anytime, you are not contracted to the university for any set period of time.
We do always advise our athletes to do at least a year because your credits can be transferred back to a university in your home country.
What should I look for in a potential College?
When making the decision on what college you will attend there are many factors to take into consideration. As a family what can you afford to pay towards your child’s education? Where can you athlete realistically compete and make the travelling team? Where is the school located and distance from home?
For the athlete there are a few different factors, having a great connection from he first time you speak with the coach, does the school have the major you want to study?
Make sure you feel completely happy with the whole environment.
Can I sit the SAT / ACT test more than once?
Yes, you can sit the SAT/ACT more than once. Be aware, however, that universities may see all your recent SAT and ACT scores from the past five years. This means that if you score poorly once, it will appear on your score report for five years. SAT gives you the option of choosing which scores to send to your universities, but your universities may require you to send ALL your scores no matter what. Some universities will only evaluate you on your highest score in each section, but some universities may average out all your scores by section or look at your best score in one sitting. It is important that you prepare yourself for the SAT/ACT each and every time you sit the tests.
Are there any universities that do not require students to have an SAT or ACT score?
Each American university can set its own criteria for admission, so it is not mandatory that universities require an SAT or ACT score from applicants. Most four-year universities will require an admissions test score; however, some universities do not require an admissions test. You can also visit the international admissions webpages of various universities to see if they require an SAT/ACT from international applicants.
We always advise all of our students to sit an SAT/ACT test because it cannot hurt you in any way.
How old do I need to be to obtain a sports scholarship in America?
Given how competitive sports scholarships in America are, we would advise you to begin the process 2 years before leaving high school, it is becoming more and more common the university coaches are signing their athletes 2-3 years before they will start and in some cases longer. The process from your initial application to starting your scholarship can take anywhere between 6-24 months depending on your sport and ability level. Typically our undergraduate students are 15-19 years old. Transfer or post-graduate students from 19-22 years old.