If you love sport you might have heard about the US sports scholarship system. Every year, new names emerge out of this highly decorated system that gives aspiring professionals an opportunity to work towards their dreams. This year Paul Jubb (UK) was able to make his Wimbledon debut thanks to his successes in American collegiate sport, but there are many more. At Athletes USA, we have helped 784 athletes in the last 2 years alone!
This article on the US sports scholarship scheme will answer some of your most FAQ’s on the system and explain how Athletes USA may be able to help you with an American college scholarship opportunity.
How does the U.S. college system work?
Simply answered, the U.S College system provides opportunities for young students from all over the world to combine both their sport and a degree in what we can simply describe as professional circumstances. So, whilst the sport is classed as ‘amateur’ due to regulations, the approach in this system is very much professional. Student athletes are likely to train twice a day for 5 days a week with access to some of the world’s best sporting facilities! You even fly to your competitions! Your studies are worked around your sporting schedule, so you don’t have to compromise either. College sport often attracts thousands of fans too, in 2017, the highest average football (Soccer) attendance across the season was 3,500. That’s more than some League 1 and 2 clubs in the United Kingdom! American football was 110,737 (you read correctly) whilst basketball was 19,756.
What is a scholarship?
A scholarship is an allocation of money that a university (college for any Americans) will put towards your degree, accommodation, books and other perks to bring the best athletes to their university. Why would they do this? Well, college sport is big business and universities make good revenues out of a successful sports program. If you’re good at your sport, a university will want you on their team! Getting a US sports scholarship isn’t easy however, and those who wish to embark on the journey, have to be prepared to invest effort, time and money.
How much does studying in America cost?
Studying in America can be expensive and depends on a number of factors such as university size, location, its reputation and the division of the sports program. On average however, costs will be around $30,000 dollars per year, making scholarships all the more important. With a scholarship you could pay nothing and obtain what is called a full ride. This is extremely rare however and only 1% of athletes receive this amount of funding. At Athletes USA we estimate costs between £0 – £12,000 per year. If you take into consideration that this often includes your degree, accommodation on campus, food, equipment and travel costs with your team, there’s a lot to be gained. At Athletes USA we are able to provide you with a free evaluation of your costs based on your sporting and academic achievements with no obligation. Scholarship funding can also be obtained through successful academic achievements, so it’s important you focus on your sport and studies equally!
How long does it take to complete a degree in the U.S?
NCAA or NAIA university degrees usually take 4 years, whilst Junior colleges (NJCAA) offer 2-year associate degrees. Junior college is often a good pathway into the American University system for those who haven’t made the level ‘yet’ to be on a NCAA or NAIA program. Once you finish the 2 years at junior college, you are then able to transfer to a NCAA or NAIA program and carry on with the remaining two years of your degree.
How is a degree in the U.S different from the UK?
4-year undergraduate degrees in the U.S are comprised of 120-128 semester credit hours (60 of which may be transferred from an associate degree at a community/junior college after the 2 years). The four years spent as an undergraduate at a university are typically known as the freshman (1st year) sophomore (2nd), junior (3rd) and senior year (4th).
In the U.S degrees begin in a broader manner, encompassing a number of subjects ranging from English composition, social sciences, humanities, history, physical or natural sciences and mathematics. Once the core requirements have been met, your university will ask you to choose a specific field of study, also known as the major. The final two years are spent taking more courses that are directly related to your major. In addition, you can also receive scholarship funding for a Masters!
How can Athletes USA help me?
It’s important we mention that you are not required to use our services to gain a scholarship. However, it will help and in the long run it is likely to save you money too. Obtaining a scholarship is no easy task. It’s a complex process that takes time, knowledge and support along the way. Amongst that there is an SAT exam to take and a Visa you need to apply for. All this can be confusing and a little overwhelming for someone who has not done it before. Most importantly, we have been working since 2008 and placed over 3000 athletes successfully in the U.S collegiate system. Throughout the years we have built a trusted network of over 20,000 college coaches and saved our athletes over $100,000,000 in tuition fees. Coaches can receive hundreds of applications a week, it is only through our network and experience that we are able to place so many athletes successfully.
How long does a US sports scholarship last and can I lose it?
US Sports Scholarship are renewed on a year by year basis. However, you cannot lose a scholarship through poor performance or through injury and in fact scholarships are often improved, based on performance. A scholarship can however be lost if an athlete breaches rules. For example, being consistently late for training or class, not meeting the required Grade Point Average or through misconduct.
How old do I have to be and when should I start the process?
At athletes USA we advise that you start preparing for this process as early 15. This gives you enough time to plan everything and will give you better possibilities of achieving a scholarship. However, anything between 8-18 months is good timing. We normally work with athletes between the ages of 15 – 25, although we have recently placed a 31-year-old which is pretty much unheard off!
How do I get started?
The first step is to sign up via our website (www.athletesusa.org) and receive your free evaluation. One of our consultants will be in touch to gather some further details, including video highlights/times/sporting achievements and a year by year timeline of your academic records dating back to year 9. Based on your evaluation we recommend you speak with your parents and do some further research too. Our consultants will follow this up and speak with yourself and your parents to answer any further questions you may have.
Do you have any US sports scholarship success stories?
Sure, we have many! Take a listen to our interview with Lauren Huggins who is currently studying at Houston Baptist University and on a beach volleyball scholarship. You can also head to our Instagram (@athletesusa) or Facebook pages to see whom we’ve supported along the way.