The transition from high school to college is a big change for any young person. For most people, it’s the first time they move far away from home and learn to live on their own. It is entirely up to you to attend classes, prepare for exams, eat properly and do the laundry. Boring yes, but stimulating! For student-athletes, this leap can feel even bigger.
To help you get clear on what to expect if you’re going to be a student athlete at a college in the US, here are 5 major differences between high school and college life.
1. Being a college athlete feels like more than just a full-time job
During the season itself, Division 1 and 2 athletes will dedicate an average of 50-60 hours per week to sport and study. Between early gym sessions, school lessons, training, study time and matches, the weekly calendar of a student-athlete will be packed! While it’s always rewarding to be outgoing and get to know the many other students, only your teammates and other student-athletes will understand what it’s like to balance your college sport with the responsibilities that come with being a full-time student. It requires passion, opt-outs and time management. That’s just the way it is.
2. Your college team feels like your family!
Going to college or playing sports is a great way to make new friends. Collegesport takes friendship and team spirit to a new level. Student-athletes spend just about every walking and sleeping second with their teammates. You live together, eat together, go to classes together, study together and exercise together. In many cases, you can even vacation with your teammates and go on Spring Break trips together. (That’s great!) Your college teammates are so much more than your friends. They are your support system, they feel like family and they are the ones who make your college a
far away from home.
3. College training sessions can be as intense as the matches themselves.
The leap from high school and club sports to collegiate sport in the US can be a big one! Instead of competing and playing against peers, you compete against and with 21-22 year old pure athletes. Players and athletes are bigger, faster and stronger than we are used to. There is an extreme focus on the physical aspect of being an athlete, so there is a lot of weight lifting no matter what sport you do.
Some athletes react to the atmosphere with nerves, while others grow with the challenge and increase their intensity. It’s all about how you react to the changes you will face. Maybe you’ve been used to the fact that not all workouts have to be intense. That mistakes are part of the game. That concentration is not always at its best. Of course, this is also the case in the US. But you don’t have much to give in this regard. Athletes in the US fight tooth and nail for the chance to get a scholarship or improve their current one. Many American players and athletes wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford college if it weren’t for their sport. All of them are there because they have invested tons of time and energy in their sport. No one is going to give you their starting spot as an incoming freshman. You have to fight for it – and in the end, that’s pretty cool!
A short tour of the University of Tennessee facilities.
4. away trips can take several hours.
Whether you’re used to U19 league, divisional or league football, travel time to matches in Denmark and Scandinavia is at most 4-5 hours and most often the opposing teams are less than 1 hour away. In College, your opponents will often be located in other states and travel times can be 6+ hours and more. Usually you travel together in the team bus and fortunately it’s great fun and often becomes a bit of an event in itself. The away trips mean missed classes and weekends away from campus. You can use the time here to do your homework etc. but you are free to do so.
5. College athletes get tons of free gear and equipment!
How do you see who are the student-athletes when walking around the campus? You can be pretty sure they’ll be wearing team shirts, track pants and sneakers for most classes. College teams are sponsored by everything from Nike to Adidas and Under Armour which means you get what you need from shoes, shirts, shorts and more.
In general, the upheaval is big, but just as your life will change, you will evolve too. No matter how you’re doing athletically – or academically, for that matter. We believe in this and that is why we facilitate the opportunity for College in the US. Because it’s a development environment spiced with experiences and memories that you can’t get anywhere else.
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.