1. Research research research
This is a big step in your sports career and the more research you do – the better. It’s important not only to research the colleges that you’re interested in, but also the location the college is in, what requirements are needed to get in (including SAT requirements), and the costs of the move. Doing as much research as you can means that you are as prepared as possible for your trip across the pond. It may also be helpful to speak to an athlete that has made the trip from the UK to the US so that they can give you a realistic day in the life or any tips to make the transition smoother.
2. Start early
Application processes should begin between 8-36 months in advance as there are a number of steps to the process. Athletes should be prepared to start their application early so that they can complete all the steps in time. An important part of the process is taking the SAT test, where a score over 1100 will get you into lots of colleges. You will also have to go through a process with the NCAA or NAIA institute to determine your eligibility to play college sport in the US. Another step that may take a considerable amount of time is applying for a VISA. In order to be able to go to college in the US you will need to gain a F-1 student VISA which covers the time for your college career.
It’s easy to think that grades don’t matter when applying for a sports scholarship in America. But grades matter just as much as your sporting performance when it comes to securing a scholarship. Part of being a student-athlete means managing both the academic and training work-load – and your coach will want to know that you can handle the pressure. You might also be able to get an academic scholarship on top of your athletic scholarship which could add up to a full ride.
4. Attend a scholarship open day
Attending a scholarship open day is a great way to find out the process of applying and moving to the US, the level of the players you will be playing with and a bit more about the academic side of college in the US. This can be great not only for you, but also for your family to get an idea of what the process entails before and during your scholarship journey.
5. Use a sports scholarship agency
Using a sports scholarship agency has huge benefits. All the research is taken care of, based on what kind of things you want from the experience and your budget. Scholarship agencies also have a wide range of contacts with colleges and coaches that you wouldn’t be able to get on your own. The support you get from scholarship agencies don’t just stop once you get to the US – once you are there and settled the agency can still provide advice and support with whatever you need.