Our team at Athletes USA has already helped more than 3,000 athletes through the recruitment and decision-making process for a sports scholarship.
One of the most important and difficult (but also one of the most exciting!) parts of the process is the decision of choosing a coach or a team.
The moment every candidate is looking forward to… accept a scholarship offer and pledge to a university! That’s the moment of truth, but also the moment of nervousness and uncertainty. That is very understandable and normal, because it is a huge decision for the future!
Our team helps our athletes with this step and gives advice on decision-making. In the mass of information it is important to keep track in order to filter the really necessary information. All universities and coaches try to sell themselves as attractive as possible to sign the best athletes!
From the beginning, it is important to find out what you want and what is realistic!
What is realistic for a sports scholarship?
There a THREE points that are most important (for 99% of the cases) to give a realistic assessment for a sports scholarship.
• Academic Expectations – What kind of colleges and universities can be achieved with the academic background of the athlete? What does the athlete want to study and are there alternatives to the desired course of study?
• Sporting Expectations – Which college sports programs and coaches will be interested based on the athlete’s athletic performance (and potential)? How much will they invest in the athlete? Is there a starting position or permanent place guarantee?
Fact: The level in college sports is getting higher from year to year, because there are more and more (especially international) applicants and more and more coaches who recognize the potential and benefits in international athletes.
• Financial Expectations – Coaches build a stronger squad by spreading their budget among several talented athletes. In order to increase the chances of an offer or a squad place, it is important to know what the athlete (and his/her family) can financially contribute in their own budget without overextending oneself!
Fact: The higher the athletic and academic level of an athlete, the higher the expected offer of scholarship.
These three parameters are always the starting point in the decision-making process. Our team will evaluate the academic potential and the sporting skills of the athlete BEFORE you can start the process at all. This allows you to avoid unpleasant surprises and unrealistic expectations for the sports scholarship in the best possible way.
There are many misunderstandings about the current academic and athletic level in college sports. Fact: Just because a candidate is active in their team at home in their country as an athlete who has already been committed does not necessarily mean that the coach from the USA is equally convinced by the qualities of the applicant. Compatibility with U.S. sports, the position and the physical requirements (like height, pace etc.), the academic level and the financial capabilities of the applicant are main factors, which can make a big difference!
Important factors when deciding on a sports scholarship
Back to the topic! Once the three parameters and realistic expectations are known, it is important that an athlete decides for themselves which factors are important. After all, it is a one-off a kind and very big decision with implications for the next few years!
These factors can vary widely from one candidate to another, some of them are more important than others. Some examples:
• Location – The United States is a very large, diverse country with different experiences depending on the location.
• Climate – Extremes can occur in this respect as well. Do you want warm weather all year round? Do you want all four seasons?
• Size of the university – This can be very different and ranges from 500 to 60,000 students!
• Size of the city – Are you looking for proximity to a big city or rather nature? Each location has advantages and disadvantages.
• Which College Association and Division? An article with more information on the topic can be found here: https://athletesusa.org/difference-between-ncaa-and-naia/
• The coach – Was there a good conversation with the coach? Does he make you feel needed and does he show a perspective?
• Sports facilities and campuses – Does the university give what you need as a student, athlete, and as a person?
• And many more!
In the end, the decision is down to the athletes choice (and his/her family)! Our team helps, of course, to make the best possible decision by filtering the selection through the athletes personal preferences. The option passing the most factors on the list is finally recommended… Where you should decide for yourself which factors are the most important and which ones are more flexible.
“Just do it”
Our advice to all applicants in the past 11 years is always the same. Remember your preferences and expectations and when a university offers a possibility that meets the criteria and feels right, don’t hesitate to long, just do it! Why? Coaches always recruit! There are millions of athletes in the U.S. and around the world who want to apply and receive a scholarship. If you wait too long, an offer can also go to another applicant. Therefore, the following applies: Think ahead and prepare to make a decision.
Free Evaluation of Your Chances > athletesusa.org/apply