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Understanding the 4 Seasons of College: A Wheel of the Year

What does a year in college in the US actually look like for a soccer player?
Life as a student athlete at an American college is a unique blend of academic challenges and athletic endeavor. Each season follows its own rhythm that shapes the players’ everyday life and there is a big difference in life whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter.
In this article, we dive into the special yearly cycle that defines and shapes the life and everyday life of a college football player.

Spring: Training matches, development and a more balanced everyday life

College spring break in the US is tailor-made for development. It’s also a time when student athletes get to experience a more balanced approach to sport and academics, something that more closely resembles life as a normal student in the US. This is mainly due to the fact that the official college season doesn’t start until late summer and therefore there are no weekly trips to different states. Instead, there’s time for plenty of training sessions on the pitch and in the weight room. These months allow college coaches to experiment with team composition and style of play, while allowing individual athletes to build on their physique – something that has always been a priority and important area in American sports. At the same time, you also have more time for your studies and don’t have to catch up as much due to matches and other athletic commitments.

Although no official games are played during the spring, you’ll participate in a variety of practice games against teams you wouldn’t normally face in your college league. A good example is our client, Lucas Christensen, who currently plays and studies at Florida International University – they will be playing against Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami CF during their spring season.
Another example is our client, Nikolai Røjel, who recently transferred from Wofford College to UCLA. In the spring training matches, they will face Los Angeles FC, among others.

Lucas Christensen for Florida International University from NCAA Division 1.

Summer: Off-season or Summer League?

Summertime is first and foremost a time for vacation. Schools and campuses are closed until August, and student athletes typically have two options: either go home and vacation with family and friends or join a Summer League team and play in an official tournament in the US over the summer. Many college players choose the option to participate in Summer League as it’s an excellent chance to maintain their development – and for the really skilled players – an opportunity to be spotted by teams from USL or MLS. These leagues often follow the tournaments, as it has almost become a tradition for ambitious and talented college players to play in Summer Leagues during their school vacation.

One example is our client, Jonas Lyshøj, who currently plays and studies at Bryant University in NCAA Division 1. Last summer he stayed in the US and played for Peoria City S, which competes in USL 2.

Jonas Lyshøj in action - both on the field and signing autographs - for Peoria City from USL2.

Fall: The official start of the season and the quest for the national championship

After the summer, student athletes arrive on campus a few weeks before other students. Why? Because the first weeks of fall – and the brand new college year – start with the legendary American preseason. Two weeks with multiple training sessions, both on the pitch and in the weight room, every single day. For freshmen, it can be a cold bucket of water in the head, a shock experience both mentally and physically, but it’s great and crucial for getting ready for the high-intensity college season, which at its most intense has up to three tournament games a week.

In the fall, your primary focus and most of your energy will be on your sport. When you’re not playing a game, you’re recovering and preparing for the next game. When you’re not playing or recovering, you’re probably traveling by bus or plane to an away game. It takes extra effort to juggle the high-intensity season with your studies. It’s part of the experience and it’s what makes you better – both as a person and as an athlete.

When the season is underway and the games are in full swing, the first thing you play is what’s known as Conference Games. In other words, you play against teams from your geographical region and fight to qualify for the playoffs, where the best teams from the surrounding regions meet. From here, they qualify for the most prestigious tournament in the college game: The National Championship – also known as The College Cup.
Here, the best teams in the country gather in early December to compete for the title of national champions.

Clemson University (left), which won the men's national championship in 2023, and Florida State University (right), which won the women's national championship in 2023.

Winter: End of season, exams and Christmas vacation

After the season culminates with the national championships in the first weeks of December, you look forward to the Christmas holidays and a much-needed break from the high-intensity fall season, which takes a toll – both physically and mentally, juggling academic commitments with the goal of making it as far as possible in the national championships.

Before you can take your Christmas break, however, there are exams before the semester can be completed and the books can be closed. Most international student-athletes go home to their respective countries and spend Christmas or the equivalent with friends and family before the new semester starts in February.

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The best universities in the US in 2023

Known for its excellent education sector, the US offers a wide range of highly regarded universities that attract students from all over the world. If you’re considering studying in the US, or are just curious to discover some of the most recognized academic institutions in the country, you’ve come to the right place.

These universities have been recognized for their academic excellence, research and commitment to providing an excellent education to students around the world. Below we have compiled a list of the top 10 universities in the US to help you decide which university is considered the best in the country.

The 10 best universities in the US in 2023

# University Number of Students International Students Number of students per student Employee Female:Male Ratio
1 Harvard University 21.997 25 % 9.6 50 : 50
2 Stanford University 16.164 24 % 7.1 46 : 54
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 11.425 33 % 8.2 40 : 60
4 California Institute of Technology (Caltech) 2.237 34 % 6.2 37 : 63
5 Princeton University 8.279 23 % 8.0 46 : 54
6 University of California, Berkeley 40.921 24 % 18.4 52 : 48
7 Yale University 13.482 21 % 5.9 52 : 48
8 Columbia University 21.781 38 % 5.9 n/a
9 The University of Chicago 15.366 36 % 6.0 47 : 53
10 University of Pennsylvania 21.453 23 % 6.3 53 : 47

How is a university rated?

Every year, World University Rankings publishes their list of the best universities in the world.
The ranking takes into account a number of factors, including academic reputation, research influence, faculty quality, infrastructure and international diversity.

When you look at the rankings, you’ll notice that there is a strong representation of American universities among the best worldwide. The US is home to some of the most prestigious and innovative educational institutions, attracting students and researchers from all over the world.

When we take a look at the list of the top 10 universities in the US in 2023 based on the World University Rankings, you’ll find that these institutions are characterized by their academic excellence, research accolades and involvement in both academic and sports activities. Whether you want to pursue a career in sports, science, technology or humanities, these universities will provide you with an excellent educational experience and open doors to exciting opportunities.

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Understand the 4 stages of College: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior

Starting a university education as a Student Athlete is an exciting and challenging journey. Not only do you have the opportunity to pursue higher education, but you also have the privilege of participating in college sports. However, navigating the college experience can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to understanding the different terms associated with each year. In this article, we go through the different stages of a university education for student athletes, from first to final year, so you can understand what each year entails and how it affects your academic and sporting activities.

Freshman Year: A new beginning

Year 1

As a freshman, you enter campus with a sense of anticipation and enthusiasm. It is a time of adjustment, both academically and athletically. You will attend introductory courses, build up a routine and get to know your teammates and coaches. The first year of college lays the foundation for your college career, as you adapt to the demands of balancing sport and study.

When you arrive in the US as a student athlete, you are not far from the traditional media day where the first pictures of you in your new gear are taken.

Sophomore Year: Building Momentum.

Year 2

By the time you are in your second year, you are more familiar with college life and have found a rhythm. You continue to take majors while delving deeper into your field of study. On the sporting front, you have gained experience and may even contribute greatly to your team. The second year is a crucial time for growth and development, both academically and athletically.

Junior Year: You dig deeper.

Year 3

The junior year is often considered to be the most challenging and crucial year academically. You will delve deeper into your field of study, explore specialized subjects and maybe even do some research. As a student athlete, you are in full swing with your sport and have built up momentum. You take on leadership roles and have a big impact on your team. The junior year is a time of increased responsibility and preparation for what lies ahead.

During your time as a student athlete, you might even be lucky enough to win an individual award, academic recognition or even a championship!

Senior Year: The culmination.

Year 4

Your senior year is the culmination of your college journey. You will complete your major, perhaps participate in internships or research projects, and prepare for your postgraduate plans. As a senior athlete, it’s your last year of college sports. You will cherish your last moments on the pitch and hopefully leave a lasting impression on your team. It is a time for reflection, celebration and preparation to move on to the next phase of your life.

Embrace the whole journey!

While the terms freshman, sophomore, junior and senior describe the individual stages, it is important to recognize that college education for student athletes is about more than just years. It is a holistic experience that encompasses personal growth, character development and lifelong connections. Embrace the entire journey, believing that each stage contributes to your overall development as a student athlete and prepares you for success after college.

As a student athlete, it is important to understand the different phases of a university education in order to effectively navigate your academic and athletic endeavors. From the exciting first year as a freshman to the culmination of senior year, each phase offers unique opportunities and challenges. By taking the whole journey with you, you will make the most of your college experience and forge a path to academic excellence and sporting achievement. We are here to support you every step of the way and ensure that you thrive throughout your life as a student athlete.

Remember that your college education is not only defined by these terms. It is a transformative experience that includes personal development, close friendships and valuable life lessons. Embrace the journey, seize every opportunity and make your mark on the experience.

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College and High School Age in the US: An Overview

For those unfamiliar with the US education system, understanding the age requirements for high school and college in the US can be a little confusing.
The American education system is slightly different from that in Scandinavia.
Below we provide a brief overview of how age is related to high school and college in the United States.

Age at High School

High School is the American equivalent of college and is typically for students aged 14-18. The program has a duration of 4 years and during these years you go from being a freshman to a senior.
Here’s an overview of the typical ages for each grade level:

Class English designation Age
Freshman 1st grade (1.G) 14-15
Sophomore 2nd grade (2.G) 15-16
Junior 3rd grade (3.G) 16-17
Senior 4th grade (4.G) 17-18

Age at College

In the United States, the words ‘college’ and ‘university’ are often used interchangeably and in many cases the two terms are synonymous. But there are some nuances between them, which may vary from institution to institution. Generally speaking, ‘college’ often refers to a smaller institution offering undergraduate degrees, while ‘university’ is usually larger and offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees. However, some institutions also use “college” as part of their name, even if they are universities. Therefore, it can sometimes be confusing to distinguish between the two concepts in the US context.

College offers higher education for students after high school.
The typical age of a college student varies depending on circumstances and you don’t have to start at 18.
Here’s an overview of the typical ages of students at different levels of education:

Education and training age
Associate’s Degree (Junior College) (2 years) 18-20
Bachelor’s Degree (4 years) 18-22
Master’s Degree (2 years) 22-24
Ph.D. (doctoral degree) 27-33

Age For Student Athletes

If you are interested in playing sports in high school or college in the US, age may play a different role. To participate in high school or college sports, you must meet specific age requirements.

In high school, age requirements are usually quite flexible, as students are still under 18 years old. However, if you want to take part in sports at high school, you usually need to be between 14-19 years old.

The rules regarding Being able to play sport in college depends mainly on when you graduated from high school or equivalent – rather than your age. We elaborate on this in an article on sporting eligibility.
The typical age of a college athlete is between 18-23 years.

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Everything you need to know about professional soccer in the US

Soccer is one of the world’s biggest and most popular sports and has long been growing in popularity in the United States. This rise in popularity has had a major impact on the development of American soccer leagues, with the top leagues, including MLS (men’s) and NWLS (women’s), managing to attract some of the attention and focus that has graced the NBA, NFL and MLB for centuries in the US.

At present, the number of young people playing soccer in the US is higher than ever before and has even overtaken other popular sports such as basketball, ice hockey and baseball in many parts of the US.

The development of soccer in the US.

Soccer has been played in the United States for over a century, but it is only recently that it started to rise in popularity and reach the same level as other major professional sports in the country.

The first professional leagues are founded.

The first professional soccer league in the United States was the American Soccer League, founded in 1921. However, the league struggled to attract a large audience and went bankrupt in 1933. It was only with the creation of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1968 that professional soccer began to take hold in the United States. The NASL was the first professional soccer league to gain widespread attention in the United States, thanks to the success of the New York Cosmos, who signed global soccer star Pelé in 1975.

The league’s popularity peaked in the late 1970s, but went bankrupt in 1984 due to financial problems.

Major League Soccer (MLS) is founded.

In 1996, Major League Soccer (MLS) was founded as a professional soccer league in the United States. The league struggled in its early years, but it has since grown in popularity and now has 24 teams, with plans to expand to 30 teams in the near future.

MLS has also seen an increase in the quality of play, with top international-level players choosing to join the league. Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Andrea Pirlo, Didier Drogba and many more can be mentioned as some of the top players who have gone to MLS in the fall of their careers.

Good international performances by the US national team.

The US national team has also seen success in recent years, with strong performances in the World Cup. The team reached the quarter-finals back in 2002 and has continuously qualified for the tournament since then. During the 2022 World Cup in Qatar here in 2022, the US also managed to put on a good show.
In addition, the US has also won the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the championship for North and Central America and the Caribbean, several times.

Increasing interest from the American youth.

The rise of professional soccer in the US has also been helped by the increasing popularity of the sport at youth and amateur level. Participation in youth soccer in the United States has grown significantly in recent decades, with millions of children and teenagers playing. There are many reasons for this, one of which is the accessibility of soccer. You only need a round ball to try it. You don’t need a goal, net or equipment, which is a contrast to the popular sports in the US.
Another reason is also that European football, e.g. The Premier League first started to be shown on national TV around 2010. They have been behind for a long time. This has, of course, raised awareness in the US and has led to more young Americans becoming aware of it in recent years.
This has helped cultivate a larger pool of talent for professional teams to draw on and has also helped increase the overall quality of play in the country. In general, the rise of professional soccer in the United States has been a slow but steady process.

Frank Lampard in action for New York City FC who play in MLS - the top men's league in the US.

The sporting structure in the US.

The professional league system in the US is considered to be one of the most complex in the world. With a structure that is far from the European model, the system can be difficult to understand, especially for those who have not had direct experience with it.

Many people in Scandinavia and Europe don’t realize that the major American sports leagues such as the NBA, MLS, NFL, MLB and NHL do not operate a promotion and relegation system. Teams in these major American sports leagues (and indeed, the same is true for college sports in the US) are neither promoted nor relegated based on their performance in that season. They do, however, have a permanent place in the league they are affiliated with. The teams’ placement in Division 1 or 2 is not primarily determined by seasonal performance, but rather by other factors, typically of a financial or commercial nature.

1. Open leagues (Europe)

The open leagues operate with promotion and relegation. The teams at the bottom of the league move to a lower-ranked league, while the top teams move to a higher-ranked league after each season. It’s the system you know in Europe – plain and simple.

This ‘open’ approach gives all teams, regardless of history and finances, a theoretical chance to win the best league and play against the best teams. The European system gives all clubs the opportunity to fly high if they are also prepared to fall low if their investment in promotion fails.

1. Closed leagues (USA)

Closed leagues have always been the sporting culture in the US. The closed leagues provide greater stability for clubs. It is much easier for them to estimate income and expenditure and clubs and investors can be confident that they have a place in the league. (provided they continuously comply with other criteria)

The obvious disadvantage is the limited places in the top leagues and that sporting achievements become secondary in the big picture.

David Beckham in action for the LA Galaxy, who play in the MLS - the top men's league in the US.

Competitive balance

US sports leagues place restrictions on club spending and budgets to ensure competitive balance. This means that all teams in a given league must have a realistic and fair chance of winning it. The effect is that, for example, there are often different winners each year in the Super Bowl or in MLS – unlike in Europe where the same 1-3 clubs are often winners at the end of the season.
The two most important rules in this respect are:

Salary Cap

A rule that limits the amount of money clubs can spend on player salaries.

The Draft

The lowest ranked teams of the previous season will have the opportunity to pick first when new, young and eligible talents are ready for the top tier. This ensures that these teams have the best chance of getting the best future talent, thus providing a competitive balance.

Leagues in the US (men)

There are several different professional leagues in the US on the men’s side. We give a brief overview of each of them below.

(Div 1) Major League Soccer (MLS)

Major League Soccer (MLS): The biggest soccer league in the US. The league started out with 10 teams in 1996, but has since grown to 26 teams. Many of the greatest soccer stars of all time, such as Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard have signed contracts with MLS.

(Div 2) United Soccer League Championship (USLC)

One of the biggest soccer leagues in the US and formerly known as the United Soccer League (USL) & USL Pro. Officially, the league is characterized as a Division 2 league – i.e. one level below MLS, but generally has a large fan base and a high level of which e.g. Chelsea FC legend Didier Drogba most recently played for Phoenix Rising FC, a top team in the USL Championship.

(Div 3) United Soccer League One (USL1)

USL1 is a professional league that has existed under various names since 2005. It is officially categorized as a Division 3 league and counts 11 teams playing 30 matches in a season + playoffs.

Historically, the league has served as a place where MLS teams such as Inter Miami CF have placed their reserve teams to be matched continuously and at a high level, but with new initiatives from MLS, USL1 looks more like a bid for a league that is level-wise just below, but in close connection with USLC.

(Div 3) National Independent Soccer Association (NISA)

NISA is a professional soccer league in the United States. The league is a division 3 league, such as USL1 and began play in 2017. NY Cosmos is one of the 8 professional soccer teams in this league – Brazilian Pele played here in the old days!

(Div 3) Major League Soccer Next Pro (MLSNP)

MLS Next Pro is a new league in the US and Canada that is closely affiliated with MLS. The league will begin in 2022 and will start with 21 teams. 20 of these are reserve teams for MLS clubs and the league will be categorized as a division 3 league like NISA and USL1. As the name of the league suggests, the point is to create a more viable and obvious pathway to the highest level of professional American football (soccer) for the many national and international talents.

(Non) United Soccer League Two (USL2)

USL2 is an amateur league for college players that runs from May to August each year. Many professional MLS clubs have U23 teams playing in this league, and it’s a great opportunity for college players to develop, play with new teammates and travel to a different area of the US through soccer. Our founders Gustav Fink-Jensen and Marcus Nordgard spent a summer playing in this league for San Francisco City and San Francisco Glens respectively. Here they had the opportunity to play alongside some talented players from Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley etc. while traveling up and down the California coast to play matches.

Leagues in the US (women)

There are several different professional leagues in the US on the women’s side. We give a brief overview of each of them below.

(Div 1) National Women´s Soccer League (NWSL)

NWSL is a professional women’s soccer league under a management contract with the United States Soccer Federation. At the pinnacle of the American league system, the NWSL represents the highest level of the sport in the United States. They have players like, Lynn Williams, Kailen Sheridan, Tziarra King, Savannah Mccaskill and Rachel Daly.

(Div 2) United Women´s Soccer League One (UWS1)

UWS1 is a semi-professional series created in 2015. The best of these consists of 45 teams spread across 6 regions. It is categorized as a Division 2 league and is just below the NWSL. This is often where some of the young talents who have gone under the radar or have had a late development fight for a place in the NWSL and for full-time professional status.

(Div 2) United Women´s Soccer League Two (UWS2)

UWS announced the start of League Two in the summer of 2020. A new development league for players in the U20-U23 category and the official league for reserve teams in UWS1. The whole point of the league is to provide more development opportunities to a wider range of players through the reserve team option.

(Div 3) Women´s Soccer Premier League (WPSL)

WPSL is an amateur league – the best of its kind in the US, and has been in existence since 1998. With 135 active teams across 13 divisions, it is one of the largest leagues in the world.

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What is Junior College?

When we talk about college in the US, Junior College is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Especially here in Scandinavia, not everyone knows about it.
The fact is, however, that it’s a great opportunity to take an alternative route on the road to the best sporting college programs in the US.

About Junior College in brief

Junior College (also known as Community College) is a 2-year program where students earn an Associate Degree and compete athletically in the NJCAA.
After these 2 years, you can transfer to a College in
where the last 2 years of the Bachelor program will be completed.
Confused about the federations? Read about the 3 associations and how Collegesport works here.

What is an associate degree?

An Associate Degree is the first half of a Bachelor’s degree in the United States. This is divided into 2 different aspects; core subjects and electives.
Core subjects are compulsory and include, for example, Mathematics, English and Social Studies. Electives are specific subjects that you choose in collaboration with a counselor who will help you with your studies. the direction you want to take with your education. For example, if you want to study Business, you will probably be pushed towards electives such as Economics, Finance or Marketing.

An Associate Degree is not directly comparable to anything in the European education system, but is effectively equivalent to last year of high school + 1st year of a Bachelor’s degree.
After you have completed your Associate Degree, you will move on to a University where you can complete the last 2 years of your Bachelor’s degree.

Why should I go to Junior College?

There are 2 main reasons why you should go to Junior College.
First of all, if your grades (your academic results) do not qualify you to go directly to a 4-year university. Junior Colleges have lower academic requirements for admission and therefore can be a perfect option for the person who did not get the exam results they expected, hoped or wished for.

In addition, Junior College is also a great opportunity for those athletes who have potential for a major
Division 1 college, but who may not currently have the results or athletic resume to get a financial offer that makes sense – yet.
Here, Junior College is a program tailored to development and the opportunity to prove yourself.
Coaches from major colleges and universities recruit international athletes directly from Junior College, as these athletes have already proven that they are capable of living away from home and performing both athletically and academically.
Of the many athletes we have worked with in the NSSA, the athletes with the most lucrative contracts, the greatest development and the best trajectory are often those who have chosen to start their journey at Junior College.

Our client, Rune Petersen who took 2 years of Junior College at West Valley College and is now studying at Grand View University in NAIA on a great Scholarship.

What else are the benefits of Junior College?

At the Junior College, the campus and individual classes are a lot smaller. It creates a closer community – often perfect for those who have not lived away from home before.
For those athletes who have a smaller budget, the Junior College would also be ideal.
As mentioned before, great performance while in Junior College will also open up greater Scholarship opportunities than if you went straight into a 4-year program.

Possibility of state aid.

Besides the fact that there are plenty of Scholarships at the Junior College, you can also apply for state aid for the entire period you are over there. This cannot be guaranteed in all Junior Colleges, but it is an option that should always be explored. This can make living costs very affordable. Ask us if it is.

What about the level and facilities at the Junior College?

Just because Junior College is not a 4-year program does not mean that the level or facilities are inferior.
There are a lot of top athletes running around the Junior College and the facilities are accordingly.
Check out a tour of the soccer facilities at Iowa Western Community College here:

What is Junior College? Read More »

Know your GPA: Why and how to calculate it.

GPA, or grade point average, is a measurement of a student’s academic performance. It is calculated by taking the average of a student’s grades throughout their academic career. GPA is important because it is used by colleges and universities as a means of evaluating a student’s academic potential. In this article, we take an in-depth look at how GPA is calculated and tell you why it is an important factor in the college admissions process.

Understanding the American grading system

When it comes to evaluating a student’s performance at school, different countries and educational institutions use different grading scales. In the United States, the most commonly used grading scale is the traditional 100-point scale, where a student receives a numerical grade between 0 and 100 for each subject. In many other countries, including France, Germany and Denmark, the 7-point scale (00-12) is used as it is comparable to ECTS.

In the United States, the 100-point scale is the most common way to evaluate a student’s performance in school. Under this system, a student receives a numerical grade between 0 and 100 for each subject, where 100 is the highest possible grade and 0 is the lowest. This is then converted to a letter grade.
In general, grades between 90 and 100 are considered excellent and give the student an ‘A’ grade. Grades between 80 and 89 are considered good and give the student a ‘B’ grade.
And so on… We’ve set it out in a table below:

100-point scale Final mark (A-F)
90-100 A
80-89 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
Under 60 F

Once your grades are converted to a letter grade from A-F, you can start calculating your GPA (your grade point average).
Before we can do that, we need to get a clear understanding of what GPA actually is.

What is GPA?

GPA stands for Grade Point Average. GPA is an important measure of a student’s academic level, and is often used by colleges and universities to assess a student’s admission qualifications, scholarships and other academic opportunities.
It is a numerical expression of a student’s average performance in their subject over a specific period of time, typically a semester or a year. The highest possible GPA is 4.00.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Convert from Danish to American characters.

To calculate your GPA, you must first convert each of your Danish grades to a letter grade.

Danish grading scale (12 to 03) American scale (A to F)
12 A
12 A-
10 B+
7 B
7 B-
4 C+
4 C
4 C-
02 D+
02 D
02 D-
00 F
Convert from letter value to numeric value

Next, convert each of your letter grades into a numerical grade value.

The GPA scale is standardized so that each letter grade has a numerical value corresponding to a certain percentage of the possible grade points. For example, an A grade is assigned a numerical value of 4.0 because it corresponds to 90-92% of the possible grade points.
A B+ grade is assigned a numerical value of 3.3 because it corresponds to 87-89% of the possible grade points.

You can see the conversion from letter grade to numeric value in a table below:

Letter grade (A – F) Numeric value (0.00 – 4.00)
A+ 4.0
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0

Once you’ve converted each of your letter grades into a grade value, you can calculate your GPA by dividing the total number of grade points you’ve earned by the total number of credits you’ve taken. For example, if you received an A in a 3-credit course and a B in a 2-credit course, your GPA would be calculated as follows:

A (4.0*3) + B (3.0*2) = 18

Total credits: 3 + 2 = 5

GPA = 18 / 5 =

Credits vs ECTS Point

In the Danish education system, we do not normally use “credits” as in the American system. In the US, “credits” represent the total workload or number of hours required to complete a particular course. This is usually standardized, where a course can be worth 3 or more credits, depending on the scope and difficulty of the course.

In Denmark and many European countries, we usually use ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). An ECTS credit is not directly equivalent to a US credit, as the two systems differ in their approach.

To calculate GPA in the US, they often convert ECTS credits to the American system. This can be done using a conversion scale that takes into account the difference in the systems. Typically, one ECTS credit is considered comparable to around 0.25 to 0.3 credits in the US system. This means that a course with 5 ECTS credits in the European system might be equivalent to around 1.5 credits in the US system.

However, it’s important to note that the conversion scale can vary from college to college in the US, and sometimes even from subject to subject. Therefore, you may want to contact the specific college or university you are applying to for precise information on how they convert ECTS credits to their credit system.

Is my GPA important if I am going to be a Student Athlete?

GPA is important because colleges and universities use it as a way to measure a student’s academic performance and potential. Universities want to ensure that student athletes can handle the academic demands of college, and a high GPA is one way to show this ability.
In addition, many college sports programs have minimum GPA requirements that student athletes must meet to be eligible to participate in sports. So while GPA is not the only factor universities consider when deciding whether to admit a student athlete, it is an important one.

Are you still confused?

Comparing grading scales across Denmark, the US and the rest of Europe is really difficult, to say the least. The calculation is not very simple and there are many variables.
In addition, the requirements for a GPA for a student athlete differ from college to college.
If you still don’t feel fully equipped to calculate your own GPA, this is not uncommon.
Contact us if you would like us to help you or have a chat about this.
GPA is relevant for sabbaticals, undergraduate programs, exchanges and a Master’s degree, so it never hurts to be on top of this.

Know your GPA: Why and how to calculate it. Read More »

How to choose the right College and Sports Programme – for you!

You are a young person considering College Sport but don’t quite know where to start?

Choosing the right college and sports program can feel overwhelming.
In this article, we’ll go through the different factors to consider when choosing the perfect college and sports program for you. From researching the sports program to understanding the financial considerations, we give you all the tips and tricks to make the best decision for your future.

Consider your academic goals.

One of the most important things to consider is how well the given college or university fits your academic goals and dreams.
Many of the athletes we work with – and many young athletes in general – are primarily sporting in their pursuit of a Scholarship in the US. That’s perfectly fine and we understand that. The beauty of college in the US, however, is that it allows you to focus on BOTH sports and academics.
Therefore, it is essential that you think about the educational path you want to take. What do you find exciting? What are you good at? What do you want to improve? What could you see yourself working on in the future?
Once you have answered some of these questions, it is easier to consider whether the potential college has the educational orientation and academic level you are looking for.
There is a big academic difference between Stanford University and Harvey Mudd College, for example. You will have to bring that into your considerations.

Drone image of the traditional campus of Colgate University in New York

Examine the sporting program.

Several factors come into play when assessing the athletic program at a college or university. It is a good idea to research the team’s history.Performance fluctuates a lot in the college world and a good team in 2022 is not necessarily a good team in 2023 – however, this doesn’t change the fact that the team’s history and past results are an indicator of quality and ambition.
The current level of sporting activity is also essential to examine. Games and other events are often streamed and shown on TV, so there will be plenty of opportunities to find video you can watch of your potential college team on e.g. YouTube.
At the same time, it is also a good idea to check out the sporting facilities. Facilities in the US are generally of a high standard and you can easily find short tours on their website and social channels.
Getting to know the coaching team is one of the most important things to do before deciding on a college.
In our college process one of the most important elements is the coach appraisal. Here you will talk to interested coaches who have seen your highlights and will tell you about their program and get to know you as a person.

Lynn Stadium for a football match at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Consider the location of the school.

Location can have a big impact on your college experience. That’s just the way it is.
There are colleges in big cities like New York, Chicago or Houston and there are colleges in smaller, local towns like Clemson, St. Charles and Newark. If you like tens of thousands of fellow students and big city life or a closer social environment and a more local community, there is an option for you.
In addition, weather varies from state to state, so if you have a preference for warm weather, this should be taken into consideration as well!

Explore the atmosphere on campus and watch videos from there.

It is important to get a feel for the atmosphere of your future college.
As a potential Student Athlete, it is also important to see the facilities and resources available to you. We have already discussed this map.
Check the school website, social media and search YouTube for videos of the campus and its facilities. Everything from the sporting facilities, canteen facilities, classrooms, the atmosphere and the surrounding city is relevant.
When, during the College processcoach interviews, the coaches will often send you video material to give you an insight into the campus of the given College. They know it’s important to you.

Stadium facilities at the University of Oregon.

Financial overview (scholarships, prices, etc.)

The whole financial aspect of college admission is inevitable and very important.
First of all, Scholarships are available with all of the sporting federations we work with(Read more about the 3 sporting federations in the US here).
The financial amount of the given Scholarship depends of course on your sporting and academic level ( read more about how scholarships workhere)
In addition, prices at the different colleges vary widely. Harvard University is a significantly more expensive institution than e.g. University of Memphis.
In practice, this means that the price of a given college has a big impact on how much money you will actually have to pay out of your pocket once your Scholarship is deducted.
An example of the construction of an official Scholarship offercan be seen below:

Expense Amount Scholarship Out-of-Pocket Cost
Tuition fees $20.000 $15.000 $5.000
Room And Board $10.000 $8.000 $2.000
Books and Supplies $1.000 $800 $200
Travel (e.g. for games and competitions) $3.000 $2.500 $500
Meal Plan $5.000 $4.500 $500
Personal expenses $2.000 $1.800 $200
Total Cost of Attendence $41.000 $32.500 $8.500

Focus on yourself!

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when applying for a Scholarship is to compare yourself (too much) with others. We know it’s natural – we did it ourselves when we were going to the US.
“What has the person who played at the same level as me been offered?”
The offer you receive is the result of many variables and careful consideration by the College that makes the offer.
Your education and academic level, your sporting level and history, your physical constitution, the timing of your arrival, your age, demand and much, much more have an impact.
The best advice: Focus on yourself and what you can change, optimize and develop.

We have also written about 5 tips to maximize your scholarship opportunitiesor about everyday life in College for a Student Athleteif you found this interesting.

How to choose the right College and Sports Programme – for you! Read More »

Quick guide to the college education system in the US

The US is home to over 4,000 colleges and universities, offering students a wealth of educational opportunities at undergraduate and graduate level. From small, local colleges to large research universities, American institutions offer a diverse mix of academic programs and opportunities. In this article, we provide a quick overview of some of the options available to students interested in pursuing higher education at a college or university in the United States.

Bachelor degree (0-4 years duration)

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English, with a minor in History
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design, with a minor in Marketing
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Finance, with a minor in Economics

The traditional college option in the US is to go for a 4-year bachelor’s degree.
The first 2 years of an undergraduate degree in the US are typically focused on more general education and introductory courses for your chosen field of study (read: bachelor’s degree). In the last 2 years, you complete electives and more advanced subjects relevant to your field of study. For example, do you have If you choose Business Development as your field of study, you will take subjects such as finance, marketing or business administration.

The US is home to some of the world’s best universities, offering a wide range of academic programs and opportunities for personal and professional development.
In general, the US has a diverse higher education landscape with colleges and universities of all sizes and types. From major research universities like Harvard, Stanford and MIT to small, local colleges like Harvey Mudd College and Hamilton College.

When considering higher education in the United States, consider factors such as location, academic level, athletic programs and cost to find a school that fits your goals.

International students will have to meet certain requirements and go through a different application process than US citizens. This typically involves submitting report cards, test results, essays and other materials to show your academic and personal qualifications. You may also need to take a language test, such as TOEFL or SAT, to prove your English language skills. You also need a student visa to study abroad.
We help with all of this through our
College process.

Adam Riis der gennemførte bachelor i USA
Our client, Adam Riis completed his Bachelor's in Economics at Providence College in 2022 as a Student Athlete. He was admitted through a Sport Scholarship for his abilities as a football player.

Master degree (1-2 years duration)

  • Master of Arts (MA) in English Literature
  • Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Management
  • Master of Education (MEd) in Special Education

A Master’s degree is a higher education qualification that can be obtained after the completion of a Bachelor’s degree. In the US, a master’s degree typically takes one to two years full-time, depending on the field and program.

Obtaining a Master’s degree can bring many benefits, both personally and professionally. A Master’s degree can open up a wide range of career opportunities. Many fields, such as business, education and health, require or prefer candidates with a Master’s degree for more advanced positions.

A Master’s program typically consists of academic work and may also include an internship or research component. Students take advanced courses in their chosen field of study and immerse themselves in it. Some programs also require students to complete a final project or thesis to graduate.
You can be admitted to a Master’s program in the United States even if you have completed your Bachelor’s degree in, for example Denmark.
However, if you have not completed your bachelor’s degree in the US, you will have to go through the same process as described under Bachelor Degree (0-4 years duration) to be admitted. This is one of the things we help with here at NSSA.

Adam Riis der gennemførte bachelor i USA (1)
Our client, Daniel Anusic completed his Master in Business Analytics at Fairfield University in 2022 as a Student Athlete. He was admitted through a Sport Scholarship for his abilities as a football player.

Junior College - Associate degree (2 years duration)

Junior colleges, also known as community colleges, are two-year higher education institutions that offer an Associate Degree.
They are often seen as an affordable and accessible option for students who want to further their education without committing to a four-year university straight away.

One of the great benefits of attending a junior college is the ability to transfer to a four-year college or university afterwards. Many junior colleges have transfer agreements with four-year institutions, which can make it easier for students to transfer to a four-year college and complete their bachelor’s degree.
Many students go to Junior College to develop and mature themselves – this can be both athletically and academically. During the 2 years in Junior College, you can improve your sporting and academic performance and get even better offers from 4-year colleges than when you started. Many of the very best athletes in the US have started at Junior College and some of our best stories with clients have also started at Junior College.
If you want to read more, we take a deeper dive in this

article on Junior College.

Adam Riis der gennemførte bachelor i USA (2)
Our client, Rune Petersen who took 2 years of Junior College at West Valley College and is now studying at Grand View University in NAIA on a great Scholarship.

Exchange (1-2 semesters)

Finally, many college and university programs also offer the possibility for students to participate in exchange programs and study in the United States for a semester or a year.

As an international student and student athlete, participating in an exchange semester at a university in the US can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Not only will you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, try different subjects and improve your English language skills, but you will also have the chance to compete at a high level in sports.
The educational culture is generally very different in the US than in Scandinavia, and exchanges can be a much-needed and rewarding change of scenery for many.
Of course, as with all other educational opportunities, your admission to an exchange program in the US requires some practicalities. It could be a visa, tests, sports eligibility or your housing situation when you are over there. This is one of the things we help with here at NSSA.

Ask us about your options!

Here at NSSA, we are primarily concerned with college sports. The combination of higher education and elite sport. An everyday life where academics and athletics are fully integrated – something you won’t find better than at college in the US.
Of course, it is not free. In the US, society is built around user fees, which is a big contrast to education in Denmark and Scandinavia. Fortunately, scholarships and grants are available to make it affordable for international students. Our main focus is on sports scholarships, which are awarded based on athletic ability in a given sport.
That said, academic scholarships are also very common and are aimed at students who have very good grades.

Quick guide to the college education system in the US Read More »

How does college football work in the US?

Football, or soccer as it’s known in the US, is a worldwide sport that connects people from all corners of the globe. But when we talk about soccer in the US, we open the door to a unique world of sport and education that is very different from European soccer.
While the sport in Europe often revolves around clubs and national leagues with promotion and relegation, the US has its own way of playing this beloved sport: through college football.

A fixed divisional structure

The most notable difference between European football and American college football is the divisional structure. While European clubs can rise or fall in leagues based on their performance, college soccer teams in the US stay in the same division no matter how the season goes.

NCAA Division 1: The highest level

NCAA Division 1 is the highest level of college football and includes some of the largest, most well-known and competitive universities in the country.
Think of teams like Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson. Known for attracting the best high school players and the most promising international players, this level is known for its intense competition.

There is a lot of attention from the professional leagues in the US and many of the best Division 1 players go on to professional soccer careers after college. Either in American leagues like MLS or NWSL or in Europe.

Nathan Opuku who in January 2023 switched Syracuse University in NCAA Division 1 with championship club Leicester City.

NCAA Division 2: Great competition and high level

NCAA Division 2 also offers a high level of football and is home to several renowned universities such as Bentley University, Florida Southern College and
Cal Poly Pomona
. The best teams in Division 2 can often compete on par with or even surpass the average team in Division 1.

The key sporting difference between Division 1 and 2 is usually the athlete’s physical performance. In Division 1 – and in the US in general – there is a strong emphasis on physicality and athletic skills. Often it is these athletic attributes that determine whether an athlete ends up in Division 1 or Division 2.

NCAA Division 3: The well-rounded experience

NCAA Division 3 presents a more balanced experience, with the academic component carrying more weight than the athletic. Student athletes need to be able to manage their time effectively, as the sports component is not as prioritized as in Division 1 and 2.

In Division 3, colleges don’t usually offer athletic scholarships, meaning students often have to cover the costs themselves. This can make training more expensive for the individual.

We have not placed players in Division 3 so far.

NAIA: Private universities at a high level

The NAIA also offers a high level of football and is home to several renowned universities such as Keiser University, University of Northwestern Ohio and Lindsey Wilson College.
However, in the NAIA, the sporting disparity between top and bottom is more variable than in both NCAA Division 1 and 2.

However, the main difference between NAIA and NCAA universities lies in the size of the institutions and whether they are public or private. The NAIA is primarily home to private universities and also has more lenient academic requirements than the NCAA.
That said, in the NAIA you can play at a high level, get a quality education and receive scholarships just like you can in the NCAA.

NJCAA: The alternative route to the best universities

NJCAA organizes and facilitates sports at
junior colleges
in the United States. A Junior College program lasts 2 years and if a student shows outstanding performance both athletically and academically, they can transfer to a 4-year university in the NCAA or NAIA to complete their bachelor’s degree. This route is ideal for those who did not initially meet the admission requirements of a 4-year college or university.
Junior colleges are affordable and offer generous academic and athletic scholarships, while colleges and universities keep a close eye on the talented student athletes in the NJCAA.
Many of our clients have started with NJCAA scholarships and their performance has led to offers from NCAA Division 1 colleges.

Oliver Hald who started in the NJCAA at Muskegon College and now plays in NCAA Division 1 for Southern Methodist University .

Game structure

The college football season includes both conference and championship games.
The most competitive teams compete in national championship games, while others focus on winning their conference.

What is a conference?

In college football, a “conference” refers to a group of colleges and universities that compete in football and other sports against each other. These conferences are typically regional and consist of member institutions located in the same geographic area of the US.

Some of the major college football conferences in the US include the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Big Ten Conference, Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12), Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Big 12 Conference. Each conference has its own unique history, traditions and rivalries.

The recruitment system

In the US, the college football recruiting system is a complex and highly regulated system that connects talented young players with university programs. Here are some key aspects of this system:

Performance in high school

The recruitment process often begins for players in their high school/secondary school years.
Scouts and college coaches monitor high school games, club games and tournaments to identify promising talent and potential student athletes, across national borders.

Scholarships and offers

Coaches can offer scholarships to promising players. These scholarships can include partial or full coverage of tuition and other costs. Scholarships are primarily based on the player’s performance on the field and in the classroom. 

In the US, this is a huge deal, as in many cases a scholarship will be the main reason why an individual student can afford to go to university. 

The battle for talent

Since there is a limited amount of scholarships available, college teams compete for the best talent. Competition between universities is intense and each year is a race against time to fill your team with talented players. 
This competition exists not only nationally, but certainly internationally as well. 

Through recruitment agencies like us at NSSA, universities can also strengthen their teams with international players from around the world. 
More and more international players are being recruited to college football in the US and this has led to increased competition. Both in recruitment as well as in the game on the field, which is constantly evolving. 

Previously FC. North Zealand U19 player, Jonas Lyshøj in action for Monmouth College.

Rules and regulations

One of the myths often discussed in relation to American football (soccer) versus European football is the difference in rules. There is a common perception that the rules are significantly different. However, this is no longer the case, although historically there have been some differences.

The best example is the former rule of the so-called “American penalty kick,” where the player had a limited amount of time to take the penalty kick on the run.
These rules have been changed and college soccer in the US follows the regular FIFA rules for the game of soccer.

Football culture and fans

In the US, sport is more than just sport; it’s part of the culture. Athletes and players represent their universities, and locals feel a strong connection to their school.

Fellow students across the many sports support the university teams fiercely and loyally. Whether it’s a basketball game or a football match, these are often school-wide events.
Football (soccer) has not yet reached the popularity level of American football games, where 100,000 spectators are not uncommon.
However, UCSB holds the the attendance record of 15,896 spectators for the rivalry game between UCSB and Cal Poly Pomona.

Lynn Stadium - University of Louisville's football stadium.

What is the best option for me?

Although most start out with the idea that NCAA Division I is the ultimate goal, it ultimately comes down to what experience suits the individual and a clear answer to the question can rarely be given.

The most important thing is to find a college that suits you. If you do well, it is always possible to request a transfer to a higher level. This will always be an option if you have proven yourself during your stay and often larger scholarships are given to international students who have proven themselves at college in the US, as opposed to if they had played at club level in Europe.

The good news is that with 3 NCAA divisions, NAIA and NJCAA are options for any potential Student Athlete.

How does college football work in the US? Read More »