Every year, thousands of young women take their skills onto the softball diamond and turn them into a US college scholarship. And the good news is that US coaches like to recruit out of Australia given our reputation as a strong performing softball nation, our excellent education system and our desire to be ultimate team players.
As Australia’s leading experts in US university sport scholarships, our team at Study & Play USA are here to help our talented Australian girls realise their dream of a US college scholarship.
The college recruiting process isn’t as simple as waiting at home for the coaches to call, you need to be noticed by college coaches. Being proactive is key, and this is where our team’s expertise comes in.
If US college coaches haven’t heard of you or actually seen you play softball, then chances are they may not know you exist. You could miss out on your opportunity to receive a scholarship solely because your profile didn’t reach the right coaches.
Importantly, having our experienced team involved will also allow you to concentrate on the important things – your softball skills and keeping your academic grades up!
Our US college recruiting process
Whether you’re an 8th grade softball player or a 10th grade swimmer, it’s important to start educating yourself about the US college recruiting process early. Our experience is that those who know about the process and plan for it early have better long-term outcomes.
Finding the right softball scholarship comes down to finding schools that are right for you. This takes time. Discussion with you and your family is important. By having Study & Play USA involved in your application process, we’ll develop your profile and find the right university fit for you.
We do this by corresponding with the right programs, helping you with filling out forms (there are a lot more for international students) and putting together video highlights and portfolios. This all needs to be done, just as a start, when pursuing a US college sports scholarship.
This also gives US coaches the opportunity to scout you while we help manage the recruiting process. We can’t stress enough that early education on the recruiting process and starting early are important to help increase your opportunities when US colleges come calling.
Once you have a coach who is interested in you and is from an institution that suits you, then you have to demonstrate to them that you would be a valuable asset to their softball team. This is not just about your abilities on the field. They will also need to see that you have good academic marks and a reputation for being a hard-working athlete.
After that, it’s a process of completing the necessary eligibility and visa paperwork, finding suitable accommodation and getting you ready for your transition to life in the US. Don’t worry, we’re vastly experienced at this.
US college softball programs
There are just over 1,600 college softball programs across the US and not all are full scholarships. The majority of programs split their scholarships in order to give money to as many good players as possible.
Every college sports program uses their scholarship funds differently. Depending on the popularity of individual sports and programs at a university, the university will choose to allocate their finances to the different sporting programs based on that popularity. Our team at Study & Play USA can help you find that right university and program for you.
Our network and contact abilities within the US college system helps us understand the different programs and coaches and how they tend to use their scholarship funds. This will help us plan out a successful recruiting game plan for you. Again, the good news is that with so many colleges offering softball positions, players of a wide variety of playing levels can access these opportunities.
Three associations that we work closely with are the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
There are approximately 950 college teams listed in the ranks of NCAA softball teams.
The NCAA regulates the scholarships that can be offered by participating colleges and teams. These regulations put a limit on the number of full scholarships that can be offered by any one college or university.
As we said earlier, many coaches prefer to split the allowed full tuition scholarships into a larger number of partial tuition scholarships. This strategy gives them the ability to attract more talent to their teams, and to broaden their pool of possible players. Coaches will make these determinations depending on the team’s current needs, and strategies will change from year to year.
NAIA and NJCAA softball scholarships
Students looking outside the NCAA can find further scholarship opportunities for talented young softball players with the NAIA and the NJCAA.
The NAIA, while a smaller athletic association than the NCAA, offers many highly competitive scholarships across all types of college athletics – including softball. More than 200 NAIA schools offer sponsored scholarships for softball players, each extending up to 12 awards per team. Most, but not all, are partial tuition scholarships.
What happens when I complete college?
Once you have successfully completed your US college scholarship experience, usually aged around 21, you will possess a universally recognised degree that has saved you money. You could also have potential opportunities to continue to pursue your sporting passion – women’s softball. Or, you may choose to take advantage of an automatic one year working visa in the USA to add to your resume and your bank balance!
About Study & Play USA
Study & Play USA is Australia’s leading expert in US university sport scholarships. We have over 15 years’ experience helping Australian student athletes choose their life journey. We’re not here to convince you to take this pathway. Rather, our priority is to inform and educate each individual family. We’ll sit down with you and your family to provide you with customised and personal advice relevant to you and your goals and dreams.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a university experience in the US through your sport of choice, email Study & Play USA or get in touch via our Getting Started portal. You can also, read what some of our scholarship recipients have said about our assistance.