One of the questions we get asked most often in the NSSA.
Getting a Scholarship in the US can be a competitive process. You’re not just competing with people from your own country in your sport, but with athletes from all over the world… So when are you good enough?
The short answer is that in all likelihood you are definitely good enough. And Scholarship requires a certain level of skill, of course, but you don’t have to be the next Christian Eriksen, Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan to be considered among the many colleges in the US.
The level of athleticism among colleges and universities varies across the associations – NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA – which stands for College sports in the USA. The USA is a large country with a huge variety of colleges in the east and west. Since these colleges vary in sporting and academic level, there will most likely be a college that suits you and your profile.
What factors influence whether I can get a sports scholarship?
There are many different factors that coaches consider when offering scholarships.
College coaches will not only look at your athletic or sporting level, but also your academic performance, work ethic and character.
When we talk about sports scholarships, your sporting level is a priority and a major focus. Your skills, results and experience on a football pitch will be the most important of the various parameters on which schools assess you. It could be your ticket to a fantastic – and paid – education where elite sport is an integral part of the whole experience.
However, if a college coach is interested in a handful of players who are at the same level, personality, core values and school level will determine who is chosen. Colleges in the US look for the whole package when awarding sports scholarships; the sporting, the academic as well as the personal. Having a high sporting level can therefore carry you a long way towards a Scholarship, but not necessarily all the way in all cases.
What is the level of college in the USA?
NSSA, we have successfully assisted both league players, division players as well as youth national team players to get scholarships in the USA. The level of college football fluctuates from year to year and an unimpressive team can quickly become one of the best in the country before you know it.
With the good football education that Scandinavia provides and a level that in the USA spans a wide range across the different federations, there are good opportunities for many. However, it can still be confusing to compare your own abilities with the different levels in college.
If you have any doubts about your footballing level in relation to opportunities in the US, here are a few tips you might find useful:
1. Watch matches from College in the USA.
Find and watch highlights or full college matches and assess whether your own level can match – or even surpass – what you see. There are many games and teams to choose from, but watching a few different games from the different college leagues (NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA) can give you a good indication
2. Reach out to someone who is or has been a college student athlete in the USA.
If you are well versed in your sport, you are sure to find a current or former student-athlete from your own country who has experienced it first-hand. It is said that the entire college system in the US has to be experienced before it is truly understood. If someone with experience can give you a few tips and advice, you are sure to learn a lot more.
3. reach out to different colleges and universities.
It can be both difficult and confusing, but one way in whichThe best way to learn more about your college options is to proactively reach out to colleges and give them insight into both your athletic and academic performance and what you can bring to the table. It can be difficult to find the right people to get in touch with and responses can be patchy, but the response you receive, positive or negative, can give you an insight into what cards you hold and how good your options are.
4. reach out to experts who can help you assess your options.
Let’s be honest… It can be a jungle to navigate the sporting level and opportunities of college in the US on your own. With thousands of colleges and many different tournaments, it’s difficult to assess and navigate on your own.
That’s why we – and all other college recruitment agencies – exist. Colleges and their coaches are used to contacting potential international student-athletes through agencies like us.
A good idea is to get in touch with some people who know a lot about it and can advise you. That’s what we have to say. But that’s the way it is.
Are you considering the College option?
If it is the dream of a professional career, a hope that sport can be the path to a good education or something else, it is certain that a college stay in the USA is closer than you might think. We have now after 4 years helped players from many Danish clubs and we therefore most likely have a common friend.
Get in touch with us below if you’re thinking about college in the US or just need answers to a few questions.