Every year, more and more Australian athletes are attempting to play college sports in the United States.
There are hundreds of US athletic scholarships available to Australian student athletes every year, but actually being offered one of these scholarships can be a long and difficult process. Being recruited to play college sports is a difficult proposition for American athletes, let alone someone from Australia who has to deal with all of the additional requirements and procedures that international athletes are subject to.
But, if you are blessed with athletic ability and the desire to succeed and work hard, on and off the sports field, then undertaking an athletic scholarship at a university in the US might be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
“The ability to earn your degree while playing a sport that you love cannot be found elsewhere in the world, and for that reason I would highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the US college system. I found it to be highly rewarding in every sense including academics, sports, and socially. Although you are a long way from home, your team becomes your family.” Laura Smith, previous Study & Play US Client. University of Charleston.
Using one’s athletic abilities can be part of the answer when it comes to the question of how to pay for a college education. An Australian HELP (HECS) debt can last years. For some, a lifetime. In 2017-2018, the compulsory repayment threshold for the income of people with a HELP debt that year was $55,874, with the average university HELP debt costing $20,303. Meaning an athletic scholarship at a college in the US could not only save you over $20,000 worth of debt, but also provide you with a litany of avenues and experiences unavailable in Australia.
Getting an athletic scholarship can be highly competitive. There are more than seven million high school athletes, but only one percent of them will get a full-ride scholarship to a Division I school in the US.
Here’s our advice when it comes to planning to take advantage of your athletic gifts and pursue a college education in the US:
Start Planning Early:
There are a lot of different colleges out there to choose from so research into finding the right fit for you is extremely important. You want to maximise your time at a US college and choosing the right institution and scholarship opportunity is part of that.
Our four programs (All American, Academy, Fast Track and Resettlement Program) allow for planning from year 10 through to someone who wants to change universities while in a current program. However, the earlier the better as this allows us more time to find the right school and maximise your scholarship, sporting and academic opportunities.
Building Your Portfolio & Contacts:
One of the ways we help student athletes is by creating a Student-Athlete Profile. This is a customised, professional web profile that showcases the person, athlete and student. Once this is complete, we’ll use our comprehensive database of coaches and contacts and begin the extensive communication process with them to find your right fit college.
It’s important to understand that as an international scholarship applicant, college coaches aren’t typically going to hop on a 13-hour flight to come see you play. Therefore, it’s important to start digitally recording your games/matches/performances. Digital evidence is the best way to advertise your skills to prospective coaches and schools. Invest in a decent video camera, tripod and camera person, it’ll be your primary form of endorsement collateral.
Get in touch with us for a more detailed discussion on how we can help in this area.
Commit to The Admin:
There is a lot of paperwork to ensure your path to accepting an athletic scholarship goes as smoothly as it can.
There’s the SAT Exam, NCAA eligibility, coach and university contact, student visa application and approval, admissions and enrolments, accommodation, etc. The earlier we can start preparing for this, the better the experience will be for you and the quicker you can focus on what you need to – competing hard in your chosen sport and your academics!
Keep Working Hard!
Your academic results provide a great deal of insight for recruiters. They say a lot about your ability to put your head down, work hard and push through adversity. Once enrolled in an athletic program with a US college, you will be expected to maintain a certain grade average. Your high school results play an important part in determining if you’re able to do that. So, keep those grades up!
Correspondingly, it’s important to keep yourself fit and healthy, especially if you’re currently in the off-season of your chosen sport. Not only will you be ready to go at a moment’s notice if a trial is expected of you, but it also demonstrates commitment to your coaches if you arrive at your chosen university in good physical shape.
At Study & Play USA, we are NOT here to push you in one particular direction. Our priority is informing and educating each individual family. We’ll sit down with you and your family to provide you with customised and personal advice relevant to you. Our 15+ years of experience allows us to give you expert guidance on what an Australian student athlete needs to do in order to choose the right pathway for them.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a university experience in the US through your sport of choice, give Study & Play USA a call or get in touch via our Getting Started portal on our website.