In the United States, an athletic scholarship is the limit of dreams of any boy or girl who play sports at school. Meanwhile, residents of any country can resort to this method. The only condition: the presence of serious sports achievements in the chosen field.
The difference between an athletic scholarship and an academic one is that only an application is needed for the latter, and in order to "ride" in the category of an athlete, you need to be an active participant in the sports life of your own school.
Choosing a university
You need to start searching for an educational institution in advance - a couple of years before admission. You should limit the choice to a few dozen institutions and monitor the situation, thinking about which suits you best and where the position in your chosen sports discipline is the strongest. When you decide, it will be the turn to choose an association and a division.
There are several associations in the United States:
- the largest National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), uniting over 900 institutions,
- a slightly smaller National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) - there are a little more than 360 educational institutions, but there are excellent programs and scholarships for athletes,
- and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), which specializes in colleges with a two-year term of study.
Then you should choose a division; there are three of them. The first two have large universities with a large number of students and huge budgets for scholarships. In the third, there is less money, there are even fewer students, and the funding is modest and can hardly inspire an athlete to try to storm the selection committee.
There are no athletic scholarships in the Third Division and the Ivy League, but students can receive funds from other sources, which allows them to look for other ways of financing. Although getting into universities of the third category is just the easiest: there are a lot of interesting athletes, and the competition is much lower.
Sports scholarship at a US university: how to get
Scholarships are distributed by sports departments, where the Directorate of Sports and the coaching staff play a crucial role. In this regard, it is easier for a US resident to receive a scholarship than for a foreigner. After all, schoolchildren from a young age become the subject of interest of recruiters - people who attend competitions in order to select talented young athletes.
Foreigners are usually deprived of this opportunity, so you will have to write a motivation letter, collect recommendations, make videos from games and performances, collect standings. Links to videos inserted into the text of the letter work well: you will not be able to lose this. It is important that the video is short and shows the best qualities of the athlete-applicant.
If a higher education institution expresses interest in the applicant, the director or coach contacts him within a few weeks. If there is no answer, you can remind of your existence and clarify - did you receive the letter or was it lost?
Most often, universities have departments for working with foreigners, while contacts are easily found on the official websites of higher education institutions.
Most often, athletes who do not have guarantees of enrollment receive an invitation to perform and even receive a scholarship. Therefore, no one canceled the need to prepare properly - as well as entrance exams, tests and other documents.
What is needed?
To enroll in the university, the scholarship holder will need to pass exams and collect the necessary documentation:
- Summary. Must include information about physical parameters, history of sports success, participation in teams at school, city or regional level, information about coaches and any other additional information;
- Documents confirming the presence of education with translation into English and notarization;
- Transcript with a list of mastered courses, the number of academic hours and marks. Foreign institutions usually do not do this, so there is a possibility that the document will have to be done independently.
- Test results conducted by NGO College Board. The closest analogue is our unified state exam with the only difference that it can be taken 7 times a year in the United States and 6 more times abroad. All three functioning certified centers are located in the capital. To pass the test, you need to fill out the registration form, find out the schedule and follow the instructions.
- You also need to pass the TOEFL language tests, which will allow you to find out your level of English proficiency. However, some universities from the first division for the sake of the principles of multiculturalism recruit those who are not equipped with a certificate.
Sports scholarship at a US university: features
Strictly speaking, a scholarship for athletes is a kind of contract that is concluded between an athlete and a higher educational institution: the former advertises his alma mater, performing for it in competitions, and the university is responsible for this by paying the cost of studying.
Among the disciplines for which you can get scholarship funding, there are even such atypical for us types as fencing and lacrosse, not to mention baseball, football or hockey.