College Sport

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: Digging 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.

Rasmus Berg

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.

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.

High School

High school is an educational institution for students aged 14-18 years. Students are divided into four different classes, from freshman to senior. The typical age of a high school student depends on the student’s birthday and class. Here is an overview of the typical ages for each class:

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


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 is an educational institution for students after high school. The typical age of a college student varies depending on circumstances. Here is an overview of the typical ages of students at different levels:

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.

NSSA X FANT: From Sierra Leone to the US on a Sport Scholarship

At a time when politics is taking center stage during the World Cup in Qatar, we would like to highlight a story in NSSA that is a great example of how soccer can be used to improve future opportunities and happiness. Here’s a little story about our adventure to Sierra Leone last year.

Kroo Bay; Poverty and a love for soccer

Here, where the African dirt road bends into a bay, towards the busy center of Freetown, a drain runs. Where pigs swim around in knee-high pools of sewage, while women wash clothes a few meters away. In the area around the drain, 17,000 people are crammed into small houses built on top of piles of rubbish. The slum area is called Kroo Bay; notorious for being burdened by extreme poverty and high crime rates.

In the middle of the jumble, you’ll find a large gravel field where all the neighborhood boys and girls gather around soccer. Here you can see Didisatu in her usual surroundings with a ball glued to the foot and a big smile on her face.

Soccer as a ticket to getting an education.

In September 2021, NSSA and FANT – For a new tomorrow came together in Sierra Leone for a meaningful purpose. A mission to help a young person from Sierra Leone to a brighter future by providing an education in the US with soccer as a driving force.

For 10 days, we traveled around Sierra Leone and got to know a lot of young players. We held training sessions in 8 different ‘clubs’, held workshops for both local coaches and players, and were eventually able to select some of the young people who, both academically and athletically, would qualify as potential Student Athletes at a University in the US.
The whole idea was that we could show the young people of Freetown how sport can be a catalyst for valuable education and a brighter future. To understand the importance of education and become aware that access can be achieved through hard work on the field.
If we could help just one young person go, it would move mountains for the other local people’s belief in this opportunity and this path.

Soccer as a ticket to an education.

And dear all – mission accomplished! With pride, we are proud to announce that Didi has obtained a four-year degree in the US without having to pay a single penny. Food, housing, books and education costs are paid for through the scholarship she has received.

She will be found running around the fine turf fields of Charleston, South Carolina, dressed in bright blue from head to toe. Here she represents The Citadel University in the top women’s college ranks.

Long story short, Didi has an exciting year ahead and are in good hands at The Citadel. She has been welcomed by the university, her coach and fellow students. Didi has already experienced Washington DC, been to the beach in Florida and many other exciting experiences on away trips.
We are so thrilled that we succeeded and that this opportunity was created.
Thanks to

FANT – Football For A New Tomorrow

for a great collaboration – we look forward to repeating the success in the future.

Preseason in College

Preseason is a great way to start your college career in the US. At least as long as you are prepared for what lies ahead, both physically and mentally. After the summer vacation, the preseason starts in full power at the beginning of August andthere’s no need to sugarcoat it; Preseason is HARD and it’s physically demanding on many levels. On the other hand, it is also super cool and stimulating. We take you through it all below.

Briefly about the preseason

Preseason usually begins in early August and continues for 3-4 weeks – depending on when school starts at your college.
You often arrive for preseason 2-3 days before the actual training starts. This gives you the opportunity to settle into the school, get to know your new classmates and generally experience the area where the school is located. The first few days of preseason are filled with practical meetings with the coaching staff, hearing about the coaches’ expectations for the season and how the team will achieve the goals that have been set. In addition, you can expect some social events where you can bond as a team and get to know your new teammates better. The great thing about the team culture at College is that the older members of the team see it as a big part of their role to make sure that the new players on the team settle in as quickly as possible and generally feel welcome. They have been in the same situation as the younger ones.

Hype video from the start of the football team’s preseason at Fairfield University in Connecticut.

The first days of the preseason

Once the first few days of familiarization are over, the training begins for real!
You are given all your equipment and this is where you really feel like a college athlete for the first time.
The first days of training often start with tests where you are measured on different physical parameters; it could be your acceleration, your agility or your strength level.
The coaches use the results to assess your current condition and adjust the amount of training during Preseason accordingly

Jog & Stretch
6:50 - 7:10

Each morning starts with a short jog of about one kilometer, followed by a joint stretching session to get the worst of the lactic acid out of your legs. Most of the time you will be wearing full training gear with the school logo all day

Shared breakfast
7:20 - 7:50

The whole team has breakfast together, which is required. During the pre-season, it is incredibly important that you get enough nutrition – there is a big focus on this. During this period, you train so much that you can hardly eat too much. As it is often significantly warmer in the US than what you are used to in Scandinavia – while at the same time exercising a lot, hydration is of course also crucial.

Changing and preparing for training sessions
8:00 - 8:55

After breakfast, you often have an hour to get ready for your workout. Sometimes you need to be weighed first, to make sure there is not a big fluctuation in your weight. Afterwards, you have a quick conversation with the team’s physiotherapist about how your body has adapted to the intense amount of training and if there is anything you need to look at together. After that, it’s very normal to spend some time stretching, doing stability exercises, or maybe getting a massage.

First training session
9:00 - 11:00

The first training session is of course different from school to school in relation to which focus areas the trainers want to hit. One thing you can certainly expect is that the training is well organized. There is a focused intensity which naturally increases the competition. Something you always get in environments where there is a professional set-up. As freshmen, you’ll use these sessions to showcase yourself as a player. There’s no need to be nervous if you don’t feel like you’re playing at your best right from the start. The coaches are well aware that it often takes some time to settle in and get used to the new culture and style of play.

11:05 - 11:50

After training, it is often mandatory for the whole team to unwind, stretch, and at least take an ice bath. When you’re done with this, there’s often a protein bar and some sort of Gatorade waiting for you, so you can get something in your stomach straight after your workout. If you have a muscle injury or something else that bothers you, you do the exercises given to you by the team’s physiotherapist.

12:00 - 12:45

Right after you’ve showered and changed into a new set of workout clothes, lunch is ready. You’ve probably built up a good appetite from training and since you burn so many calories in preseason, you can hardly eat too much.

13:00 - 14:20

This free space is used to relax, many people use the time to either take a nap or watch some Netflix series. Often there are also people in the team who sit around drinking coffee and playing cards. This time is your own time and should be used for whatever you want to do to get ready for the next training session.

Former pro club player and NSSA client, Alexander Hjælmhof in action for San Diego State University!
Changing and preparing for training sessions
14:30 - 15:25

After a nap or whatever you came up with, you have to get ready for the second training session. Just like before the first training session, you will go through the same procedure with your physiotherapist, where you will be checked for any injuries or strains.

Second training session
15:30 - 17:00

Training sessions. As mentioned, the type of training you have to go through at each school is very different. However, you can expect the second session to be followed by thorough stretching and ice baths. There is a real focus in the preseason to take care of the body between training sessions. Since your body is being pushed to the limit, this means going through countless stretches, ice baths, and hours of lying with your legs against the wall to increase blood circulation.

17:00 - 17:30

Just like after the first training session, it’s very normal for all players to have some exercises to go through. Even if you don’t feel injured, there are exercises you can always do to prevent any strains or overuse injuries that the team is very aware of.

17:35 - 18:30

Dinner. Eat, eat, eat. You burn so many calories due to the amount of exercise, but also due to the high humidity and heat that you can hardly eat or drink enough. Something that the coaches definitely remind you of at every meal. You can probably be prepared for the fact that as a first-year student you will have to go through a little ritual at dinner. It can be either a dance or a quick song.

Evening hygge (bedtime calls)
19:00 - 23:00

Fun with the team Here, the older members of the team will make sure you all have a good time. There are probably some who play PlayStation, some who just want to relax with a Netflix series, some who enjoy card games. Often, everyone in the team is so tired after a day of training that there’s not much else to do than a bit of fun and the best sleep you could imagine.

Preseason at Quinnipiac University where both Ramesh Delsouz and Alexander Stjernegaard play and study.

The goal of the preseason in the US.

This daily schedule is repeated most days. Of course, the coaches keep an eye on the group and if there is a need for a recovery session in between, it will be scheduled.
In addition, the older members of the team make sure that you do things together in the evening such as going out to eat, BBQ, bowling, going to the movies and many other social things that do not require too much effort.

The regular students only move in once the preseason for all athletes is over. Therefore, you also have time to settle in before the school is full of people.
Of course, the goal of the preseason is not to completely destroy you, but rather for you to get to know each other as people and players while getting in shape. Preseason is a great way to start your college experience because by the time you’re done with preseason, you’re already part of the team community.
You know where everything is in the school and you quickly get used to the American culture.
After this, the academic semester starts, which is where the full college experience begins. The perfect combination of sports and studies.

You can read about the everyday life in College for a Student Athlete right here.Or maybe a little about how college soccer works?
Feel free to contact us if you are thinking about a stay in College – or if you just have questions or want to have a chat about scholarships, sports and the US.

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 federations 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:

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 process
coach 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 work here)
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 offer can 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 opportunities or about everyday life in College for a Student Athlete if you found this interesting.

How does college soccer work?

Explaining college soccer in the US can often be a confusing affair. How does the league system work? What are the options? What is the NCAA and what is the difference between the divisions?
To shed some light on the subject, we’ve put together a few things that are guaranteed to make you a little more knowledgeable about college soccer in the US

College soccer in the US

College soccer in the United States is different from the rest of the world.
In most countries, there are promoted and relegated teams each season, depending on how many points have been earned by the end of the season.

In college soccer, teams do not move up or down. They remain in the same division regardless of how the season has gone for the given team.
There are many factors that play a role in why the different teams/colleges are placed in the division they are. It could be the size of the university, its financial strength or the amount of sports they offer in their program.
There are 3 different sporting federations, each of which facilitates soccer tournaments at both regional and national level. We look at each federation below. 

What is the NCAA?

(The National Collegiate Athletic Association)
organizes soccer and other sports across colleges and universities in the United States. They facilitate the largest and most well-known college tournament in the United States, consisting of over 1000 colleges and universities across 3 divisions.

NCAA Division 1

Division 1 is the highest-ranked division in the United States where the biggest colleges in soccer compete against each other. The biggest teams play in front of home crowds of at least 1,500 and the record is around 17,000.

It is played in front of large crowds against and with the players who, in addition to fulfilling the academic framework, are also the most immediately talented.
In Division 1, there is a strong focus on the athletic aspect of the individual player. Speed, physicality and attributes like these are therefore highly valued by Division 1 college coaches in the US.
Here the various colleges and universities recruit very actively both nationally and internationally and offer full scholarshipsto those athletes and players who can prove their talent and academic level.

NCAA Division 2

Division 2 is the second-highest ranked division in the United States where major colleges compete against each other.

There is also a lot of competition and a high level of soccer, but there is a more balanced approach in terms of sports and academics. There is a strong focus on the technical and cognitive aspect of a soccer player, as opposed to Division 1, where the athletic aspect is more important.
Although on paper NCAA Division 2 is ranked below Division 1, it’s not necessarily because of the level of soccer.

The way the
sporting system is structured in the US, means that a given college and its position in, for example, Division 1, is not dictated by its sporting performance in the previous season, but by the financial strength, size and general provision of college sports by the college institution. It is therefore not at all unusual for Division 2 teams to be better than Division 1 teams and one should not be fooled by the figures and the immediate ranking of the divisions.

In Division 2, colleges are also actively recruiting both in the US and beyond their borders, but cannot offer scholarships to as many athletes as Division 1 colleges. It is therefore often a greater achievement to get a good Scholarship offer from a Division 2 College than a Division 1 College.

NCAA Division 3

Division 3 offers a much more well-rounded college experience in the US, with academics taking a greater focus than athletics. These athletes or players need to be able to juggle their time, as sportsmanship is not promoted as much as in Division 1 and 2. Here the different colleges cannot offer sports scholarships. This makes schools more expensive and coaches find it difficult to recruit players of the same caliber, as the price for the individual becomes too high. We have never sent a player to Division 3.

What is NAIA?

(National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)
is also an organization that governs and facilitates soccer and other sports in the United States. The NAIA is the oldest tournament in the United States and has been holding annual tournaments at colleges in the US since 1959. The NAIA consists mainly of private, attractive and well-funded colleges with solid facilities and an international environment. The NAIA is the oldest tournament in the United States and the various colleges actively recruit every year.
There are a large number of scholarships on offer – more than the NCAA – many of which go to students from diverse nationalities.

What is the NJCAA? (Junior College)

(National Junior College Athletic Association)
organizes and facilitates soccer and other sports at junior colleges in the US. The Junior College program lasts 2 years and if you can prove yourself athletically and academically, you can then transfer to a 4-year program such as NCAA or NAIA and take the last 2 years in the upper school.

This is a great route for a young person who may not have had the academic level in the first place or for other reasons was not admitted to a 4-year college program. Sports scholarships are also available.

Junior colleges cost less than public and private colleges, and they may also be more generous with academic and sporting scholarships. Coaches and recruiters from the NCAA or NAIA will also look towards the NJCAA when recruiting as they can prove that they are able to balance sport and education. As an example, 2 of our clients here at NSSA – Tobias Bak and Oliver Hald – both players had scholarship opportunities at fine colleges in NCAA Division II. They both chose a different route and accepted scholarships from colleges in the NJCAA. After consistently performing well both in the classroom and on the soccer field, both Tobias and Oliver were able to accept scholarship offers from NCAA Division I colleges.

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
are options for any potential Student Athlete.

5 tips to maximize your Scholarship opportunities

A Scholarship is an exciting opportunity for many young athletes. Combining higher education with elite sport is not an option in many places; in college in the USA it is part of the culture. However, the biggest obstacle is often not knowing where and how to start if you want to go. It can be difficult to know who – if anyone – to work with to get the help you need. What is required of you and how soon should you be out exploring your options?

Here are 5 simple tips on how to maximize your chances of getting the best Scholarship offer in the USA

1. Those who start early often have the most opportunities

Start the preparatory work, your research and ideally the whole process as early as it makes sense for you. First and foremost, it’s important to think it through, but then it’s just as important to go for it – don’t put it off for too long.
We recommend starting the

the process

– possibly take the first meeting with an agency like us. anything between 10 and 24 months before you would actually travel to the USA. So if you graduate from high school (or similar) in summer 2022, it would be ideal to start everything from summer 2020 to the end of 2021.
This does not mean that you are too late if you start the process afterwards – not at all. But getting off to a good early start is a big advantage, as college coaches will usually have a larger Scholarship budget available. As a result, you will inevitably be considered by more coaches and colleges than late starters.

Besides, starting early can give you more time to work through the smaller things that need to be taken care of when going to college in the US. It may be
various small tests
, translations of important documents,
and a lot of other things.

2. Seek help and guidance from experts

The whole college recruitment process is quite convoluted and we can’t recommend this part enough. There are often several unexpected and confusing bumps in the road and having the right advice and guidance is crucial.
This should first and foremost help you segment and select colleges that fit your needs and situation – academically and athletically.

Furthermore, it should help you make the right decision and then continue by helping you navigate the various administrative issues involved in being an international student athlete in college in the United States.

Ideally, it is also important to be able to stay in contact with them once you have landed in the US, as there may also be a need for assistance and sparring – both for yourself, but perhaps also your parents.

Our client, Mikkel Gøling getting on top of a header in a match for Young Harris.

3. Find the right agency - for you!

Getting help from experts is essential. Even more essential is to get help from the right experts and an agency that suits you. It is a personal choice, nothing is right or wrong.
Most importantly… Whatever Scholarship Agency you choose, it is focused on creating a personalized and tailor-made process for you.
There are many good agencies, but also some less good ones. Big agencies that have been in the game for many years will often have a larger staff, a bigger network and a wider following, but you can quickly become ‘just another number in the line’ if you’re not careful.

4. Be proactive

The search for a good Scholarship is a competitive game – being proactive can give you a big advantage! Having video of yourself, maybe even finding your own highlights or records, obtaining official school documents or registering yourself for any tests required are things you can basically do very early on. The faster and better these things are done, the faster you can be promoted to colleges, universities and their staff.

For example – as soon as you start having contact with college coaches, it’s never a bad idea to be proactive and seem invested in the contact. Agencies like us will of course also help you navigate this. But there will always be many options for college coaches and if the process for an individual athlete or player becomes too long, they can quickly start looking elsewhere.

5. Trust the process

Keeping the faith that you will eventually receive the right Scholarship offer is very important!
The good agencies will talk you through what you can expect in terms of process and realistic options. It is important that expectations are fully aligned, as trust in the process is critical for a good offer and solution.

REMEMBER: It is YOUR talent and YOUR academic level that will ultimately get you the good offers. The various Scholarship agencies – like us – are ‘just’ organizations that highlight the talent and level, facilitate the contact and maximize your opportunities.
You can read more about
how a Scholarship works
what it requires
here on our blog.
If you are now, or have ever thought about going to college, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Am I good enough for a Scholarship?

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.

Lynn Stadium - the football team's home field at the University of Maryland where we has Luca Costabile in the team.

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.

Our client, Daniella Diaz in action for Florida Atlantic University

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.

The athletic facilities at the University of Oregon

Are you considering the College option?

t 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.

Take a Gap year at a College in the US

If you’re dreaming of studying abroad after high school, college in the US could be the perfect option. In this short article, we’ll try to help you understand how to combine a gap year with sports, education and memorable experiences in the US.

A gap year in college in the US can be the perfect alternative.

College in the US can be the perfect option for those who want to travel during their gap year. Add to that the fact that you can practice your sport at an elite level, get a taste of American culture and can use your stay to enhance your resume and future job applications.
A gap year in college in the US can give you the full package: education, elite sports, experiences, travel and challenges all in one.

A year that resembles an international high school with a focus on sports.

Going to college in the US during your gap year is not like the traditional gap year of full moon parties in Thailand and autocambers in Australia.
With a gap year in the US, you will be enrolled in an international higher education program as a student athlete and during this year you will study while practicing your sport almost every day.
You’re not going to relax, you’re not going to stand still and you’re going to evolve.
This option – such a place – does not exist in Denmark or Scandinavia. The closest we get are colleges and sports schools.
The big difference is that the education you start.

In Denmark, if you want to pursue both higher education and your elite sport, this is done separately and in 2 different places: the university and the sports club where you train.
Unlike in Scandinavia, the sporting and academic aspects are fully integrated in your everyday life at College in the US.
Campus is where you train, go to school, play games, eat and hang out with your friends, teammates and fellow students – if you’re not at away games or experiencing the rest of the US during your vacations.

So I am going to school during my gap year at College in the US?

Yes, yes, yes! With a gap year in college in the US, education is also a focus. Although it may not be the first priority for many, it will be a regular part of everyday life and you can choose between the many subjects and try out a lot of things, such as can help you choose the right degree program back home in Denmark or simply be the starting point for a 4-year bachelor’s degree in the US.

How much does a stay cost?

The average cost of 1 year of college is very similar to the cost level of continuation schools and folk high schools in Denmark. However, this can vary greatly depending on the university or college in question. The most expensive universities are… expensive!

A big part of our work at NSSA is about reducing costs through scholarships, which are awarded based on athletic and academic performance and levels.

Cost High-end Middle-end Low-end
Tuition and Fees $50,000 $30,000 $10,000
Room and Board $15,000 $10,000 $5,000
Books and Supplies $1,500 $1,000 $500
Transportation $2,000 $1,000 $500
Miscellaneous $3,000 $2,000 $1,000
Total $71,500 $44,000 $17,000
Scholarship Coverage $57,200 $35,200 $13,600
Student’s Cost $14,300 $8,800 $3,400
Team NSSA. Mads, Joakim, Gustav og Alexander.
It's the 4 of us - Mads, Joakim, Gustav and Alexander who would help you go to college in the US.

If you’re wondering what to do with your time after high school – whether it’s just a single year in the US, a full bachelor’s degree or something else you’re curious about, please get in touch with us!
Thank you very much for reading.