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Do 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.

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College life in the US – Everything you need to know!

The university… better known in the US as college, is a fundamental part of American culture.
College life in the US is a very different experience from university in Scandinavia. Especially if you are a Student Athlete! The most obvious differences are the entire educational structure, a multi-billion dollar college sports industry, a proud, close-knit community and a unique culture at each of the many colleges across the US.
Here we take you through some of the fundamentals that will make up your everyday life at a college in the US!

Where do I live when I am at college?

At College in the US, you will be allocated housing. In your first year, you will be on campus in the dormitories, which are very similar to a dormitory here in Scandinavia. As you progress through your school years, you will also have the opportunity to live in an apartment with friends and fellow students, away from campus. However, there will always be opportunities on campus!It should be noted that American colleges house anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 students. Imagine how big these colleges must be – and the biggest ones feel like a small town in themselves! The smaller colleges may therefore also have a closer and more family-like atmosphere and sthe dryness of the college you choose may be something you need to consider.

Where do I eat when I am at College?

There will always be at least one eating area on campus, and often there will be several places to choose from. As a student, you’ll basically be on a ‘meal plan’ with a card you can scan to get your 3 meals a day – plus snacks of course!

Canteen facilities and dining options at the University of Waterloo!

How much time do I spend in the classroom?

Physical attendance is important in the American education system. You will have a set timetable that you will work out with an educational counselor who will guide you through it.
As a student-athlete, your coaches will emphasize the importance of attending classes and maintaining good grades. Most students will have between 2-4 modules per day, with additional time spent on homework and assignments during the day and evening.

The athletic and sporting side of college in the US

American college sports is a gigantic industry. Matches are shown on national TV and are closely followed by the general public. The athletes and the different teams are a focal point for the whole campus and many people and students gather to watch their teams play.
In the biggest American sports like basketball and American football, crowds can reach up to 100,000 people – many of them prospective or former college students who are fanatical about their college team. As a Student Athlete, you represent your college and compete with pride as your classmates and locals stand on the sidelines to support you.
Furthermore, colleges take great pride in the performance of their sports teams, which means that the academic administration will work with the athletic department to help you maximize your potential in both aspects.

Facilities at College in the US

Collegesport facilities are fantastic and rival the quality of many professional organizations and clubs around the world.
For example, there will be one or two gyms for ‘regular’ students on campus, while Student Athletes will often have access to their own fully equipped, professional-quality gym.
There is also training, support and assistance from strength coaches, physiotherapists, dietitians and counselors in addition to the full-time coaching staff assigned to your team. All these dedicated people are there solely to help your development and potential.

Check out our article ona typical day at college in the US!

A quick tour of the University of Tennessee and their football facilities!

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Everyday life in College in the US for a Student Athlete

Curious about what a typical day is like for a college athlete in the US?
A day in college for a student-athlete is challenging, fun and busy. Depending on which college, how far you are and which sport you play, the days will vary.
However, here’s our best overview of a typical day for a student-athlete:

Introduction to college life in the US

Of course, depending on what sport you do and what time of year it is, a weekday can vary.
Basically, though, there is a lot of structure to the days and time at college.
As a Student Athlete you have 2 different schedules:
The athletic schedule
the academic schedule.

Since you are admitted to the College as a Student Athlete, your academic schedule will always take into account your athletic schedule so that you can prioritize your practices and games.
Your professors and academic advisors will always understand the importance of your sport and will therefore also actively help you juggle and balance sport and study.

There is also the possibility to “build” your own school timetable. One of the advantages of college in the US and the fact that there are so many students is that there are many classes to choose from at different times of the day. Therefore, you can almost freely choose the time of day you want to have your classes, depending on whether you prefer morning, afternoon or evening classes.

The main constraint in terms of being able to choose freely is when in the day your training is scheduled. For the same reason, you will also have classes with a wide variety of people, as every student in a college has an individualized schedule – which is in stark contrast to, say, a university in Europe
In general, a Student Athlete will have approximately 2-3 hours of classes in a day and approximately 2 hours of training, excluding activities such as pre- and rehab both before and after training.

Mads Frederiksen og Jeppe Paulsen der lige har spillet imod hinanden
Our 2 clients, Mads Frederiksen (California State University, Pomona) and Jeppe Paulsen (California State University, LA) who just played a Conference match against each other.

An example of the daily routine as a student-athlete

You wake up and the day starts

The alarm clock rings and morning routines such as bathing and packing a bag are done.


Together with teammates and fellow students, breakfast is served in the canteen areas on campus. The morning meal is very important in the US and the quality and variety is always high.

Continue to Athletic Center

After breakfast, as a Student Athlete, you typically walk to the Athletic Center with your teammates.
There are a wealth of facilities, such as large fitness rooms and fuel stations, to give you the best conditions to develop and perform as an athlete. Since you’re with your teammates, it’s also a good excuse to socialize.

Training session

After being both productive and social in the Athletic Center, it’s time for the first training session of the day.
Of course, depending on whether you have a match coming up or have just played, the training will be designed accordingly. A training session like this can therefore include anything from video analysis and individual technical training to team training sessions with a lot of matches and intensity.


Directly after training, it’s off with the gear and into active recovery in the Athletic center.
There is a strong focus on this in the US and the facilities are designed accordingly.
While sipping a protein shake or a Gatorade from a fuel station, the possibilities are endless, whether it’s an ice bath, foam roll or a trip in a compression suit.

Breakfast and lunch

After a busy morning, it’s time for lunch – once again in the company of teammates and fellow students in one of the canteen areas on campus.

A tour of the facilities at Iowa Western Community College, which is located in the NJCAA federation.

First module (Teaching)

Your first lesson of the day in a classroom. A subject is typically taught in modules of typically 1 hour and 20 minutes twice a week or alternatively once a week in a 2 hour and 40 minute module.


After the 1st module, you will usually have a one-hour break.
It can typically be spent on homework, a snack or simply relaxing on campus with fellow students or teammates – it’s up to you!

Second module (Teaching)

After an hour break, it’s time for the second and final module of the day.


Your planned activities, trainings and classes are finished and the day is yours.


After a long and hopefully fun and productive day, dinner is served in the campus dining hall. Like any other meal, it’s with fellow students, teammates and friends.

After dinner

The day is over and evening is approaching. The time is all your own, but as you live on campus with lots of other people, there are plenty of opportunities to socialize or relax, as well as do homework or work out.

Canteen facilities and dining options at Virginia Tech University. A dining hall at College is very similar to a food court at the malls we know.

How does it work when we have competitions away from home?

One of the coolest things about being a student athlete in college is traveling all around the United States.

With weekly matches, there are also a lot of away trips and they are often far away. So it’s not uncommon for a flight or a lot of hours in a team bus and you inevitably become close with your teammates from the time you spend traveling together.
You’ll often miss half a day or a full day of lessons on away trips and it takes discipline to make up for lost time and keep up with the pace of the sport. Luckily, the coaching team is also good at reminding the athletes and giving them time for school-related things on the trips. Being a college athlete is both a privilege and a challenge and this is certainly reflected in the many great trips to various colleges in the US.

The perfect way to combine sport and education?

We won’t mince words; college life for a student-athlete is both unique and really cool.
You spend every day with what will quickly become your close friends, you play the sport you love almost every day – all while earning a recognized international bachelor’s degree.
Is it challenging? Yes, definitely! Balancing your commitments, responsibilities and time in college is not easy.
Is it worth it? More than you can imagine. Everything you can take away, from the experience to the training, exceeds the challenges more times than can be counted.

You can read more about
how a Scholarship works

what it requires

here on our blog.
We also highly recommend checking out a few videos on YouTube with the search A Day In The Life of a Student-athlete‘.
They give a great picture of the college experience and everyday life in the US.
If you are now, or have ever considered going to college, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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