If you have ever dreamed of being able to travel and study in the United States thanks to your sport, keep reading because this article interests you. In the United States there are many opportunities for all talented young athletes who wish to continue training at the university while continuing to compete at the highest level. And best of all, American universities award scholarships to athletes to earn their college degrees only in exchange for them continuing to do what they love most, training and competing in their sport.
Today we tell you the experience of Alejandro who enjoyed for three years a basketball sports scholarship thanks to which he was able to study the career of Mathematics in the United States totally free. 👇
What are sports scholarships?
Sports scholarships are university scholarships awarded in the United States to student-athletes who are part of a university team of the university. These sports scholarships are granted only in the USA, and there is no other country in the world that bets so much on the university education of its young athletes. In addition, these scholarships are different for each individual case and cover a percentage of university expenses, and may become complete in some cases. For example, A student obtained a full athletic scholarship at Western New Mexico University, where he was able to play on the college basketball team while studying college math. Usually, these scholarships are to study a university degree, although they can also be used to study for a master’s degree in the United States.
Which college sports award sports scholarships?
If you are an athlete you will be interested in knowing if your sport can be chosen for a scholarship in the United States. Below you can find a complete list of all the sports that are practiced in American universities and that grant sports scholarships: basketball, tennis, soccer (soccer), golf, athletics, swimming, boxing, cross country, gymnastics, volleyball, water polo, ski, rugby, rowing, fencing, wrestling, ice hockey, softball and baseball, field hockey, lacrosse, American football.
1.College Sports Leagues in the United States
The 21 sports you’ve seen compete in teams in the different college leagues that exist between universities in the United States. These leagues are the NCAA, the NAIA, and the NJCAA.
It is a league composed of 1200 universities, which makes it without a doubt the most famous organization in American college sports. This league in turn is divided into three divisions:
There are 345 universities in this division and they are the ones with the greatest sporting potential. They are the largest public and private universities with the largest number of students. Hence, it is where there is more money for sports scholarships in the USA. All athletes have full sports scholarships.
It is made up of 417 universities. Most are small public universities and many private institutions. There is less budget for sports scholarships than in division 1. Even so, half of the members of each team have full sports scholarships and are more accessible to foreign athletes.
- Division 3
It is the one that has the most universities. It is made up of 438 universities. Although the sports level is the lowest and no sports scholarships are offered. They are usually very small private universities. In this league the universities focus much more on the academic aspect of the athletes. Since sports scholarships cannot be offered, most opt for academics.
This league is made up of 287 universities. It is very similar to the NCAA, although it is a smaller organization. NAIA universities offer $450 million in athletic scholarships. The advantage it has over the NCAA is that the regulations are lower, so there are greater opportunities for foreign athletes to obtain sports scholarships.
This league is made up of 436 universities that are Community Colleges, that is, two-year universities. Competing in this league is a very good opportunity since after these two years you will have many possibilities to transfer to an NCAA or NAIA university obtaining sports scholarships in top universities of those leagues.
2. Requirements to obtain USA sports scholarships
Now that you know the different sports and university leagues, it’s time to know the minimum requirements that you must meet to get your sports scholarship. There are three main requirements:
- Finish secondary education.
- Take the SAT and TOEFL exams, the mandatory entrance exams to American universities.
- Have a high competitive level in your sport.
3. What does the sports scholarship cover?
Full athletic scholarships at American universities like the one I got cover:
- University tuition
- Books and support tutors
- The residence and a meal plan in the cafeteria
- Travel with the team
- Medical insurance and physiotherapists
- Sports equipment and equipment
4. How to get sports scholarships?
Great, now that you know the requirements, we are going to explain step by step how you can get your sports scholarship. First of all, I must tell you that it is a long process and not easy to achieve. This process can last up to a year and consists of numerous steps, among which are:
- Scouting. You must create your video and sports profile, in which you will include all your sports information and your skills in your sport. This is key so that you can start contacting the coaches of American universities.
- SAT and TOEFL preparation. As you have read before, these two exams are mandatory and you must pass them in order to be admitted to a university in the United States.
- Negotiation and election. Once you have prepared your video and sports profile, and you have passed the exams, you will have to get down to work and contact the coaches of the American universities by email. In these emails, you must attach your sports information, and your marks in the exams, and you will have to express your desire to be part of the university team of the university. You can find coach’s emails from sites like LinkedIn
- Admission. Once you have managed to get the attention of an American coach, you must carry out all the paperwork of the admission process of the American universities that including the registration in the sports league, the procedures of admission to the university, and the obtaining of the student visa.
5. How long does the process take?
In order to obtain sports scholarships in the United States, it is important to start this process at least 1 year before the planned start at the American university. Coaches start looking for players for their college teams a year or even two years before the start of seasons. Hence the importance of starting so early, since university sports scholarships are running out.
In addition, the case of each athlete is different, so the process can be lengthened or shortened depending on various factors such as how quickly the student passes the exams, or the immediate interest of a coach at the athlete