In our experience, the most likely demographic in our society to recognise a golden opportunity is the modern teenager.
Modern teenagers were born in an information age, able to access more information that impacts their future than ever before. Consequently, modern teens wish to and know how to plan their futures. In doing so they are able to look ahead and prepare themselves for the bigger picture beyond the walls of University.
In short, a modern teenager knows what he/ she wants and has the confidence and knowledge to go for it!
So just why is the US College pathway option gaining exponentially more momentum?
In my mind there are six main attractions for the modern informed teenager:
- Sport & Study Balance
- International Networking
- Elevated Status
- Hugely Diverse Course Offerings
- Travel Experience
- Employability- the BIG Picture
#1 STUDY AND SPORT BALANCE
Where else in the world can a student study full time whilst pursuing their sport at their chosen level? The answer is: Only in America. The beauty of this is that the system caters for those wanting to launch a professional career or for those wanting to enjoy the experience and utilise their universally recognised degree. The system is designed to be in sync with each other i.e the academic staff are aware of the athlete’s competition schedule as much as the college coaches are aware of an athlete’s grades and academic progress. In most cases, the academic and athletic demands provide a welcome diversion from the other, enabling student-athletes to excel both in the classroom and on the sporting field.
#2 INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING
The majority of colleges in the US are diversifying by increasing international student enrolments. This equates to more opportunities; it also means that not only are teenagers that are moving to the US for their college experience being made to feel welcome, it also means they are rubbing shoulders with other international students who are in the same position. There’s never been a better time to study abroad in the USA.
#3 ELEVATED STATUS
Such is the engrained culture of college sports in the American psyche that a student-athlete (that is, a sportsperson representing their University whilst enrolled full time) gains a standing in the US community which commands instant respect and intrigue. This opens doors for the individual and invites opportunities that otherwise may not exist. Picture an employer sifting through a pile of job applications; all applications being otherwise equal, the international student-athlete application stands out. Why? The employer will be considering the time management, resilience, intelligence and maturity it took for this degree to be attained as an international student- athlete.
#4 DIVERSE COURSE OFFERINGS
With over 4500 Colleges in the USA, competition is hot for enrolments. So, to offer a point of difference more colleges are offering something for everyone. The demand for diverse course offerings from within each institution means that the US has more diversity of undergraduate and graduate programs than anywhere else in the world. Better still, the US college system allows for delayed major declaration, taking the pressure off to make a hurried decision about a course of study. For modern teens with the world at their feet, an opportunity to study whatever they choose awaits them in the US college system.
#5 THE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
Recently one of our returned US college graduates filled out a questionnaire to summarise his college journey. He listed ‘the travel experience’ as his number one benefit to him from his four years abroad. He then sent a picture of a map with pins inserted into the various US states that he had travelled to in that time. There were 41 states that were pinned, 35 of which were as part of his team travel to compete for his University. The fact that this travel plus accommodation and food expenses was all covered in his scholarship astounded him.
For those wanting to travel in their youth, what better way to do this and have it paid for?
#6 EMPLOYABILITY- THE BIG PICTURE
Armed with their ‘elevated status’ (see # 3 in this blog) thousands of international students are taking up the US Government’s offer of a one year working visa after graduation from US colleges. Imagine returning to your home country aged 22 having graduated with the degree of a lifetime having lived in another country, travelling at no expense across North America playing the sport that you love, equipped with a year of international work experience!! Your employability is off the charts. The US college pathway allows students to become ‘pile toppers’ i.e. going straight to the top of the pile of applicants without your international experience and all the added benefits that come with that; confidence, reliability, time management skills, leadership, communication skills and more..
No wonder they say that the US is the land of opportunity!