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No1 for American Sports Scholarship Funding

college scholarships international

The United States is famous for having some of the best colleges and universities in the world, and a superior higher-education system. Yet, this education comes at a high price tag. The average yearly cost of university the United States is $32,231 (£20,847) for private institutions. For public universities, it is $22,958 (£14,849).

Before you get turned off by the high price tag, know that few students pay the full cost of college or university in the United States. According to the NCES, 85% of undergraduate students at 4-year universities in the United States get some sort of financial aid. This adds up to an estimated $49.3 billion in grants and scholarship money each year.

You don’t have to be an American to get a scholarship to an American college or university. You don’t even have to be the smartest or most gifted student. There are plenty of scholarship opportunities for international students. Here is an overview of the types of scholarships available for international students so you can start looking for them.


Merit Scholarships

These are the types of scholarships which first come to mind when we think about college scholarships. Merit scholarships are given based on the student’s excellence. There are many types of merit scholarships, including:

  • Academic Scholarships: These scholarships can be funded by the college or university, or by private organizations. They go to students who have excellent grades and/or SAT or ACT scores.
  • Average Academic Performance Scholarships: These types of scholarships factor in more than just your grades and standardized test scores. They look at your overall performance as a student, such as whether you did extracurricular activities or were involved in community service.
  • Sports Scholarships: Athletic scholarships are regulated by the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA. They are fiercely competitive and there are many rules about how the scholarships can be awarded. However, this is one of the best options for international student athletes who want to study in the United States.


Need-Based Scholarships

These scholarships are given to students based on their financial need. Unfortunately, many needs-based scholarships are only available to US residents. However, some universities and colleges do give out needs-based scholarships to international students. You will have to look at the institution’s website to see what they offer foreign students.


School-Specific Individual Scholarships for International Students

Many colleges and universities in the United States have scholarships available for students who meet specific requirements. For example, an individual scholarship might be given to students who wish to pursue a particular area of study like engineering. These scholarships are often funded by private donations from alumni.


Country-Based Scholarships

Many colleges and universities offer scholarships to students from certain countries, particularly those living in developing countries. There are also many private institutions which give scholarships to students from these countries.


Government-Funded Scholarships

The United States government offers many scholarship programs, but only a few of them are available to international students. The two big ones are:

  • Fulbright Foreign Student Program: This is for graduate students and artists who want to study in the United States for at least one year. It is open to all fields except medicine.
  • Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program: This scholarship isn’t for a degree, but rather for professionals who want to do academic study in the United States for at least 10 months.


Privately-Funded Scholarships

There are many scholarships for international students which are funded by private organizations or donors. Most of these have strict eligibility requirements, such as:

  • From a developing country
  • For women
  • For minorities
  • For specific areas of study


Remember, a scholarship isn’t going to land in your lap. If you want to get the most amount of scholarship money for studying in the United States, it is up to you to take the initiative. Research your options and apply for all of the scholarships you are eligible for. Most importantly, start early! The earlier you start searching for a scholarship, the more time you will have to apply and ensure you meet all eligibility requirements.


Are you a gifted athlete and want a scholarship to study in the United States? Fill out the free application form to see if you qualify for a scholarships.

sports recruiting vs scholarships

When talking about the process of getting asked to join a college sports team, the terms “sports recruiting” and “sports scholarship” are often used interchangeably. However, there are actually a lot of key differences between the sports recruiting process and process of getting a scholarship. Here is what you need to know.


Not All Colleges Offer Sports Scholarships

The three organizations who regulate athletic scholarship in the United States are the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA. There are over 2,000 colleges and universities who participate in these organizations. However, that doesn’t mean every school which has a sports programs offers sports scholarships.

There are many colleges and universities which don’t have any sports scholarships. Further, scholarships may only be offered for certain sports or certain divisions. Division 3 sports typically don’t have any scholarships available, and certain sports don’t offer scholarships even at the Division 2 level.


Getting Recruited Doesn’t Mean You Will Get a Scholarship

Just because a coach has shown interest in signing you to the team, it doesn’t mean that you will be offered a scholarship. Coaches are only allowed to offer a certain number of scholarships. For example, NCAA Division 1 soccer (football for us in the UK) coaches were allowed to give out 9.9 scholarships in the 2014-2015 year. These scholarships are often divided up between team members. So, even if you do get a scholarship offer, the chances of you getting a full ride scholarship are slim.

Bear in mind that sports scholarships aren’t the only way to get money for school. Many colleges and universities in the United States offer academic scholarships, and you may be able to get a scholarship or grant from a private organization.


Sports Scholarships Can Be Negotiated

You can take steps to increase your chances of getting noticed by a coach (such as making a great recruiting video, sports CV, and writing personalized letters to coaches). But there isn’t any room for negotiation: you are either accepted to the team or not. However, you can negotiate for a better sports scholarship.

If a coach has expressed interest in signing you to the team, you can be assertive and make demands. This is often very difficult for students and their parents because they don’t want to come off as pushy or ungrateful, and many are just thrilled at the idea of being on the team – even if it comes with a high tuition price tag. Having a professional scholarship recruiter can help at this point as they will be able to negotiate with coaches for you to make sure you get the most favourable offers.

Image credit: “20121220 Jabari Parker verbal commitment press conference team hats” by TonyTheTiger – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Want to learn more about how to get a sports scholarship in the United States? Fill out the free online application form to see if you are eligible.

differences between uni in usa and uk

There are a lot of similarities between the United States and UK, but the university experience is not one of these! If you are from the UK and thinking of going to university in the USA, you might be surprised at how completely different your experience will be from your friends back at home. Here are just some of the biggest differences – good and bad — you will find between University in the USA and UK.


Get Ready for the Communal Bathrooms in American Dorms

Living in a dorm is one of the quintessential parts of the American college experience. You might even be happily looking forward to late-night cramming sessions with your new roommate who will come to be your best friend (equally as possible is that you will become worst enemies and you’ll have to find a new roommate halfway through the term).

But brace yourself for the communal bathroom experience!

Unlike in the UK where residency halls often have ensuite bathrooms, or just a few people sharing a bathroom, many US student dorms have large communal bathrooms used by the entire floor. There are even videos dedicated to the subject of “how to poop in the communal dorm bathroom” and threads with advice like “wear flip flops” and “put toilet paper on the seat before sitting down.” No wonder so many US students move off campus after freshman year!


You Don’t Have to Decide on a Major Yet

In the UK, you are expected to be highly knowledgeable of your major before applying, and will take courses almost specifically on that subject.

By contrast, the United States emphasizes a much broader course of study. You can even enter college with an “undeclared” major and decide later. This is possible because, for the first 1-2 years of uni, you will take classes in a number of subjects while collecting credits. In fact, most universities require ALL students (regardless of major) to take a minimum number of humanities, sciences, and other core classes.


The Application Process Is Completely Different

Right from the beginning, you will realize how completely different university in the US and UK are when you have to go through the application process.

In the UK, it is the university academics who decide who gets in. In your personal statement, you have to do your best to show off your knowledge and expertise in the subject.

In the USA, it is the “admissions office” who make the decision. That’s right – people who have absolutely no knowledge of your major will determine whether you are accepted to the program or not!

Because of this, it is no wonder that extracurricular activities matter much more when applying to US universities. They are looking for “well-rounded students” as opposed to students who excel in a specific area of study. In your personal statement, don’t bother trying to impress them with obscure details from the subject area. They will be more impressed by stories of personal growth and overcoming difficulties which will show that you will be a valuable member of their university community.


American Universities Have Impressive Facilities

In the UK, we’ve got Westminster Abbey, Peckwater Quadrangle, and Buckingham Palaces. In the United States, they have university campuses.

After traversing through the humble streets of University towns and cities, you will find yourself shocked at how extravagant the campuses are. And you will be even more impressed when you visit the facilities.

While the UK has great academic facilities like libraries and research halls, American universities invest a lot more in their sports facilities, community centres, and even fitness centres.

It will seem too good to be true… until you see the yearly admission price of US universities!


You’ll Have Quizzes

In the UK, you go to lecture, do the reading, and then take final exams. These final exams make up your entire grade. There are no such things as “quizzes” throughout the term.

By contrast, final exams only make up a fraction of your grade in the United States. So what is your grade based on? Throughout the term, US professors will give you smaller assignments, projects, and quizzes. These are all meant to help make sure you are following the subject material. If you mess up, it isn’t such a big deal because it is only for a small percentage of your final grade.


American Universities Care About Your Life Outside of Uni!

When you go to uni in the UK, you are expected to come to lectures, study hard, and get good marks. After that, they could care less about what you do. In fact, they could care less if you even get good marks. If you are struggling in a course, don’t expect the professor to dedicate any extra time to you! You’ll be lucky if you can even find the professor after lectures.

By contrast, American universities have extensive support systems. It might even seem like they are holding your hands at times.

The professors have open-office hours where you can come ask questions and seek advice. There are study groups and tutoring available. There are counsellors for academics. There are counsellors for career advice. There are even counsellors for attending the psychological needs of students. Oh, and if you get a bad mark on an assignment or exam, you can talk to the professor about it and they might let you redo the work or retake the exam!


What’s this School Pride???

If you are a student athlete, then you are going to love the university experience in the USA. In the UK, you are lucky if a handful of students show up for your big match against a rival team. In the USA, student athletes are elevated to celebrity status. They play on impressive facilities. Their games are broadcast. They even have mascots!

The sports teams aren’t the only thing that American universities are proud of. Don’t be surprised if you see complete strangers wearing your university’s sweatshirt, and then getting into conversations with you about the school.   And then there is the “Greek experience” of fraternities and sororities which is unique to the USA. No matter how many times you’ve seen it in movies, nothing will completely prepare you for the experience of rushing a frat or sorority!

Image credit: Campus Life by Davis Applied Technology College, Creative CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License

questions to ask coaches

When you speak with a college coach during recruiting, it is important that you have prepared a list of questions to ask the coach. Asking questions not only gives you information about the college and athletic program, but shows the coach that you are serious about a career as a student athlete.


When to Ask Coaches Questions?

You don’t have to wait until you get a face-to-face with coaches to ask them questions. Each time you make contact, use it as an opportunity to ask questions. Here are just some of the opportunities you will have to ask coaches questions:

  • When writing emails
  • When speaking on the phone
  • During campus visits
  • During sports camps


What Types of Questions to Ask?

There is no limit to the types of questions you can ask. However, you do want to make sure you ask a wide range of questions. You would NOT, for example, want to ask just questions about scholarship money. This would show you are not interested in the specific program. Likewise, you don’t want to just ask questions about the team’s win record. This would show that you are not looking at all of the benefits the program can offer.

To make it easier, break the questions down into categories. Here are some of the categories of questions to ask coaches.

  • Questions about the team needs
  • Questions about coaching style
  • Questions about schedules
  • Questions about life as a student athlete
  • Questions about facilities
  • Questions about recruiting and admissions
  • Questions about scholarships and costs


Questions to Ask College Coaches

When talking with a college coach the first time, you won’t have time to ask all of these questions. However, these questions can serve as examples for things you should be asking the coach and also taking into consideration when choosing which college to attend. Remember to ask questions from multiple categories and not just one! This will show the coach you are looking at the bigger picture and are a serious student athlete.

Questions about the Team

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the team?
  • What is the biggest need of the team right now and the immediate future?
  • What position do you see me in? Is there a strong need for this position?
  • How will I fit in with the team?
  • Do freshmen play?

Questions about Coaching Style

  • How would you describe your coaching style?
  • What kind of players do best with your coaching style?
  • What makes you different from other coaches in your division?
  • When does your coaching contract end? Do you see yourself here in 4 years?

Questions about Schedules

  • What does a typical schedule look like?
  • What is the off-season schedule?
  • Is there a separate schedule for conditioning?
  • Are there any unofficial practices I need to know about?
  • What does the travel schedule look like?
  • What happens if I have to miss a practice?

Questions about Life as a Student Athlete

  • If I am having trouble with my academics, is there any tutoring or other support available to student athletes?
  • How do your players balance academics with athletics?
  • What is the team GPA?
  • What do the players major in?
  • Are there any players majoring in my major?
  • How many players graduate?
  • If there is a conflict with academics and athletics, how is it handled?

Questions about Facilities

  • When will I have access to the facilities?
  • Will the facilities be renovated or upgraded anytime soon?
  • What is the schedule of the conditioning coach?
  • What is your availability if I need assistance during the season or off season?

Questions about Recruiting and Admissions

  • How many other students are you recruiting for my position right now?
  • Where do I rank on the list of possible recruits?
  • Why should I pick your program over another program which is recruiting me?
  • Is there any preference given to student athletes during the admissions process?
  • What can I do now to prepare myself for college?

Questions about Scholarships and Costs

  • Do you typically increase scholarship amounts after freshman year?
  • What medical expenses are covered by the college?
  • What equipment costs are covered and what will I be required to provide?
(Image credit: Coaching & Performance Conference 2014 by Guernsey Sports; Found on Flickr; CC BY NC ND 2.0)

 Are you a talented athlete in the UK and want to study in America?  Fill out the free application form to see if you could get a USA sports scholarship.

sat act test

There are three main things that colleges in the United States look at when determining whether to admit a student: grade point average, extracurricular activities, and standardized test scores. For foreign students who want to study in America, the standardized test score requirements can be confusing – and also incredibly daunting. Don’t despair! With these tips, you can boost your test scores and increase your chances of admittance to the US college of your choice.



If you are a foreign student, then there is a chance that you’ve heard about the infamous SAT test. But many foreign students don’t know that virtually all US colleges will also accept ACT scores.

The SAT and ACT are both standardized tests, but they have some very important differences between them.

The SAT is set up to measure your critical reasoning and verbal abilities. By contrast, the ACT is designed to show what you’ve learned in school. It includes a science section, whereas the SAT test does not. Both tests have essay writing sections, but this section is optional with the ACT whereas it is mandatory with the SAT. There are also some other notable differences between the tests, including the length of the test, penalties for wrong answers, and question style. This article does a good job explaining the differences between the SAT and ACT tests.

Some people will say that the SAT or the ACT test is easier. This is not true. Both tests are equally as difficult, but some students may perform better with one test or the other.

The SAT test is more popular with foreign students, but mostly because the SAT does a better job of marketing to foreigners. See what testing centres are available near you to determine what your options are.

If both the SAT and ACT are available in your area, then do practice tests of each. See which one you score better on. Then focus on that test. Note that the SAT and ACT use very different scoring methods. You can use this SAT-ACT Concordance Table to see how your scores compare.


Take Lots of Practice Tests!

Those practice SAT and ACT tests really do help improve your test scores! Another reason for taking practice tests is that the practice scores aren’t reported to colleges.

If you do poorly on your real SAT or ACT test, you can always take the test again. However, some colleges require you to send in all of your test scores.   Colleges might not look down on you for taking the test 2 or even 3 times, but taking it 15 times could be held against you.


Leave It Blank or Guess?

With the ACT test, there is no penalty for a wrong answer so you should always guess if you aren’t sure. However, with the SAT test, there is a ¼ point penalty for each wrong answer (except with the grid-in math questions).

Here is how the SAT is scored:

  • 1 point for each correct answer
  • 0 points for blank answers
  • -1/4 point for incorrect answers

Because of this scoring system, many people recommend leaving a question blank if you don’t know the answer. But this isn’t always good advice. Veritas Prep recommends this strategy:

If you can eliminate at 1 of the 5 possible answers, then you should randomly guess.

If you can’t eliminate any of the possible answers, then you should leave it blank.

They remind you that the SAT test makers are really good at making wrong test answers look right. So, if you aren’t sure, then it is really important that you randomly guess. Otherwise, your chances of guessing correctly are reduced even further and it would be better to just leave the question blank.


Register Early!

Don’t wait to register for the SAT or ACT test. The tests book up quickly, and you might end up having to travel long distances to take the test. Considering that the tests are often given in the morning, that might mean waking up at 5am to get to the testing centre on time. Good luck performing well when you are so tired.


Brush Up On Your English

Even if you are from an English-speaking country, it doesn’t mean your American English is up to par. There may be idioms in the test questions or other phrases that you don’t understand. Likewise, you don’t want to makes lots of spelling mistakes by writing words like criticise (criticize), favourite (favorite), or annexe (annex). These mistakes shouldn’t hurt your essay scores in the SAT test, but a series of mistakes could slightly reduce your scores.

cost of university in usa vs uk

You are from the UK and dream of studying in America, but you heard that the costs of university in the United States are sky high. Are the costs of American universities really that high, and how do the costs compare to the costs of studying in the UK?

When comparing the cost of university in the USA vs UK, there are 3 main things which need to be taken into consideration:

  1. Tuition costs
  2. Cost of living
  3. Scholarship options


Costs of Studying in America

1. Tuition Costs in the USA

Every year, HSBC puts out a report on the costs of higher education in different countries. The United States came in 3rd in terms of costs, with an average yearly cost of $36,564 (£23,650) Multiply this by 4 years and the number can be daunting!

But before you freak out at the sight of those high numbers, bear in mind that these are averages for ALL types of American colleges and universities. When you look at the types of institutions separately, you can get much lower or higher figures.

First you must know that there are 3 main types of high learning institutions in the United States:

  • Private Universities: These are educational institutions which operate as nonprofits (though there are some for-profit universities too). Their operating costs come from tuition as well as other sources like donations and sports teams. They do not receive any funding from the state. Private universities usually have more prestige, lower class sizes, and are smaller. Some of the top universities in America are private nonprofits, including MIT, Harvard, and Stanford.
  • Public Universities: Public universities receive some funding from the state, which means that tuition is lower. Public universities are usually much larger and have larger class sizes.
  • Community Colleges: These are 2-year institutions in the public sector. They are also known as city colleges and technical colleges. You get an associate’s degree when you finish community college. Because community colleges are so much cheaper than public and private universities, many Americans first go to community college and then transfer the credits they earned there to a public or private university where they finish their bachelor’s degree.

Average Annual Tuition Costs in USA (2014/15 figures)

  • Private Universities: $32,231 (£20,847)
  • Public Universities: $9,139 (£5,911) for state residents and $22,958 (£14,849) for out-of-state residents
  • Community Colleges: $3,347 (£2,164)


2. Cost of Living in the USA

Bear in mind that the United States is a very large country (40x larger than the UK!). The cost of living will vary drastically for students depending on where in the USA they study. Obviously, studying in big cities like New York or Los Angeles is going to cost a lot more than studying somewhere in the Midwest like Ohio or Wisconsin.

The website Infozee puts the estimate at about $700 to $1000 (£450-650) per month for rent, utilities, food, and other living expenses. Another website, Studying in the US, puts the estimate at about $1500 (£970).

One unique thing about universities in the United States is that scholarships often extend to housing. Some scholarships will even cover the costs of food (such as at a campus cantina) and books.


3. Scholarship Opportunities

When looking at the average costs of university in the United States, bear in mind that this is an average of the costs, and not an average of what students actually pay. This is because a vast majority of undergraduate students have some sort of scholarship or financial assistance. According to the NCES, 85% of undergraduate students at 4-year universities in the United States get some sort of financial aid.

American universities give out aid for many reasons. It can be because the student is from a low-income family, because of academic excellence, because of a disability, through a sports scholarship

While scholarships are common in the United States, don’t count on a full-ride scholarship. The average amount of scholarship money given was:

  • Across All Institutions: $10,320 (£6,617)
  • Public Universities: $6,560 (£4,243)
  • Private Non-Profit Universities: $17,900 (£11,578)

Remember that it is up to you to get a scholarship. Some universities may offer you a scholarship on acceptance, but you will receive much more if you actively seek out scholarships based on your merit. If you are an athlete, learn about how to get a sports scholarship in America here.


Costs of Studying in the UK

1. Tuition Costs in the UK

Figuring out the tuition costs in the UK is rather simple.   Institutions in the England and Wales can charge a maximum of £9,000 ($13,914) for home students. In Northern Ireland, the max is £3,575 ($5,526) for home students. In Scotland, the max is £9,000. However, if you are from Scotland, then your tuition will be virtually free. Also, if you are from Wales, then the max you have to pay in the UK is £3,810 ($5,890), and the rest is covered by the Welsh government.

More than half of the universities in the UK ask for the maximum amount. Fewer universities ask for £6,000 ($9,276) annually.


2. Cost of Living

Just like in the USA, the cost of living for students can vary drastically depending on where the university is located. For students who reside with family members, then the cost of living is even lower.

Figures from the UK National Union of Students give an average cost of living outside of London as about £12,000 ($18,550) annually. Students in London pay an average of about £13,500 ($20,900) annually.


3. Scholarship Opportunities

Compared to the United States, the UK offers very few scholarship opportunities to students. As of 2016, even the maintenance grant for low-income students is to be scraped and replaced with loans. There are still some scholarships available to outstanding students, but your chances of getting one are rather slim. Count on paying the full tuition cost if you are going to study in the UK.


How Do the Total Costs Compare?

US – Public University

Tuition: $22,000
Living Expenses: $12,000
Minus scholarship: $6,000
= $28,000 (£18,000)

US – Private University

Tuition: $32,000
Living Expenses: $12,000
Minus Scholarship: $18,000
= $26,000 (£16,800)


Tuition: £9,000
Living Expenses: £12,000
Scholarship: None
=£21,000 yearly ($32,000)

As you can see, with average scholarship amounts factored in, the yearly cost of studying in the United States is actually cheaper than the UK. But remember, even if you are academically or athletically gifted, a scholarship isn’t just going to land in your lap. It is up to you to actively seek out scholarships for studying abroad if you want to get the most assistance possible. With the right approach, you might even be able to land yourself a full or almost-full ride scholarship.

If you are a gifted athlete and want to play and study in the United States, contact United Sports USA to see if you qualify for a scholarship.

recruiting services

There are currently 1,845 colleges and universities in the United States, as well as over 1,600 2-year institutions. Most of these colleges and universities sponsor some sort of sports scholarship. As a student athlete looking for an athletic scholarship, it can be quite overwhelming! That is where athletic recruiting services come in.


What Are Athletic Recruiting Services?

Athletic recruiting services help student athletes get scholarships to colleges or universities. They do not work for the school, but provide a variety of services which can give students a leg up over the competition.

The most important thing that athletic recruiting services can give you is information. The NCAA and NAIA eligibility rules are frequently changing, and it can help to have accurate information. A seemingly slight blunder, such as not taking the right secondary school curriculum, could cost you a scholarship.

Athletic recruiting services also have a lot of valuable insight into the sports scholarship application process. They not only know how to apply, but when to apply, how to reach out to coaches, and how to market yourself.

A good athletic recruiting service will have knowledge about the many colleges in the United States, and help you narrow down your list of choices based on the likelihood of getting a scholarship, location, and quality of the school.

Depending on how long the athletic recruiting service has been in business, they might even have built up a relationship with college coaches, so could recommend you personally to a coach. But be wary of any recruiting service which says it has ties to coaches. There are thousands of college coaches in the USA, and no service can have ties to them all!

One noteworthy advantage to using an athletic recruiting service is that it can help you get around NCAA regulations about coach-student contact. College coaches are prohibited from directly contacting students during certain periods. Note that students can reach out to coaches at anytime; the coaches simply can’t respond back. The coaches can, however, communicate with the athletic recruiting service and use them as a middle man to relay messages to the student.


What Recruiting Services Are Offered?

Athletic recruiting services vary drastically. Some are incredibly basic and just let students create a profile on their websites (note that these are often scams or useless services!). Others offer a vast range of services which are useful to the student, even outside of getting an athletic scholarship.

Here is an overview of the most important athletic recruiting services offered:

Athletic Assessment Services:

If an athletic scholarship service offers to help you get a scholarship without first assessing your performance, then run like the wind! No one can promise to get you a scholarship without seeing how well you play first.   The assessment should be performed by an expert in that particular sport.

The assessment should include an unbiased report of your strengths and weaknesses, the likelihood of you getting a sports scholarship, and what level of sports scholarship you should aim for (such as NCAA or NAIA D1 or D2). Learn more about athletic assessments here.


Scholarship Consulting:

These services are usually performed after an athletic assessment is performed, but may be offered separately. The experts will give you personalized (emphasis on personalized) information about how to get a scholarship. They will answer any questions you have, advise you about eligibility requirements, tell you areas you need to improve on, and maybe recommend certain colleges.



Yes, student athletes need to market themselves in order to get a college scholarship! This includes:

  • Making an athletic CV
  • Making a sports highlight video
  • Writing a good letter of introduction

Some athletic recruiting services will make your highlights video themselves, though many have separate companies they work with.


Outreach to Coaches:

Good athletic recruiting services will actively reach out to college coaches. But that doesn’t always mean that the coach will learn about you. As Lindenwood men’s basketball coach Brad Soderberg said about recruiting services, he doesn’t open emails from recruiting services. The reason is that too many recruiting services just spam hundreds of coaches, even though the student isn’t right for the school. You are more likely to get a coach’s attention if you write a personalized email which includes some information about the program. So don’t be surprised if an athletic recruiting service identifies the coaches, but tells you to contact them yourself.


Should You Use an Athletic Recruiting Service?

Athletic recruiting services do not do anything you couldn’t do or figure out yourself. What it comes down to is this: how much time do you want to spend on seeking out sports scholarships?

For example, you can go over to the NCAA website and read the eligibility requirements and then get a list of participating schools. Then you can research each of those schools individually to learn about their academic requirements, athletic competitiveness, sports facilities, academic programs, and so forth. Then you could narrow down all of those schools and contact the coaches individually.   You could also make your own highlights video and CV. And you can always rely on your high school coach’s (probably biased) opinion about your likelihood to get a scholarship instead of paying for a professional assessment.

If you play a sport like archery which only has 9 colleges offering scholarships, then this wouldn’t take too much time. But, if you play a sport like soccer (football to those of us in the UK), then you’d have to sift through over 1,600 institutions which offer soccer scholarships in the USA!

The one thing we will say definitively is this: if you do use athletic recruiting services, take some time to choose a good one. You should feel like you are getting personalized services suited to your unique athletic and academic needs.

Not that long ago, it was rare for US colleges to have many international students. Now, the trend is shifting. According to a report at US News, there have been record-breaking numbers of international students at US colleges and universities. There are now about 900,000 international students, which is a 70% increase from 2000.

International students bring diversity to campuses and, as Wall Street Journal points out, they bring money. For college coaches, international students also means a wider pool of talent to choose from. But simply being an international student doesn’t mean you will get accepted to the American college of your choice. Here is what US colleges are really looking for in international students.

college students


Your secondary school grades are one of the most important things that colleges look at when deciding whether to admit a student or not.

American schools use a Grade Point Average (GPA) system for grading students. As a foreign student, US colleges might have a hard time interpreting what your grades mean – which is why your SAT scores will matter more.

There are no minimum academic requirements for all colleges in the US. Each college is able to set its own requirements, and they won’t look at grades alone. But it is good practice to research the colleges and find out what the average GPA of accepted applicants is.

How do your grades compare? The website Foreign Credits has a GPA calculator which allows you to put in your classes and grades and get the US GPA equivalency.


SAT or ACT Scores

These are two standardized tests which students take to apply for college in the United States. Only one of the tests needs to be taken, but some colleges prefer one test over the other. In general, the SAT test is more used. Colleges use the scores to determine your academic eligibility. You can readily find information about the minimum and average SAT scores of accepted students.

Since colleges may have a hard time interpreting what your foreign grades mean, they will rely heavily on your SAT scores to determine your academic abilities. Foreign students should start early with preparing for the SATs. There are many prep courses available and you can take sample SAT tests to see how you will likely score.


Extra-Curricular Activities

American colleges are looking for “well-rounded students.” This usually means students who participate in extra-curricular school activities, but it can also mean students who have a fulltime job, do community work, or volunteer work.

These sorts of activities show a lot about your character and what you will contribute to the school, and in ways that your grades will not.

Having a job outside of school shows that you can manage time well.
Participating in school sports shows that you work well as a team.
Being in student government shows that you have leadership skills.
Volunteering in your community shows that you are compassionate and involved.

Don’t just sign up for a bunch of extracurricular activities in hopes that it will impress the college admissions boards. It is better to be actively involved in one or two activities than have a bunch of superficial activities on your transcript.


For Student Athletes – Eligibility

If you are a student athlete hoping to play sports at an American college, then you also have eligibility requirements to consider. Did you know that the NCAA requires international students to meet a core curriculum of classes? Research these requirements (and for the NAIA) and see if you meet them. If not, start making adjustments to your classes and get your grades up so you will be eligible when time comes to apply.


What US Colleges to Apply For?

While US colleges may be accepting more international students than ever, keep in mind that, as an international student, you’ve got competition on an international level!

Most international students will apply to US colleges based on their name recognition. If you take the time to really research colleges and their programs, you will find a lot of great but lesser-known schools which aren’t as competitive. For example, rural schools and schools in the Midwest USA tend to get fewer applications from international students. This not only increases your likelihood of acceptance, but of getting a scholarship as well.

Image credit: Students take place in a workshop, by Novartis AG; Found on Flickr; CC License BY NC ND 2.0


difference between ncaa naia njcaa

If you are looking to get a sports scholarship in America, you’ve got a lot of options. The main organizations which give out sports scholarships are the NCAA, NAIA, and the NJCAA.  Here we will go over the differences between these organizations, and how to know which sports scholarship to go for.



The National College Athletics Association (NCAA) is the most well-known and esteemed college sports organization in the USA.  When people think about college sports, it is usually the NCAA which comes to mind.

There are three divisions of the NCAA. Divisions 1 and 2 are the only ones which offer scholarships! Whereas the NCAA D1 and D2 schools are large public universities, the D3 is usually small private colleges.  While you won’t be able to get an athletic scholarship at the D3 level, you might be able to get an academic scholarship.

The NCAA D1 is very competitive.  Because of the stricter rules about eligibility, most foreign players play at the D2 level.  It is also possible to start out at the D2 level and (after 2 years) be approached to play at the D1 level.

  • Mostly large public universities
  • Includes 1,281 schools/institutions, conferences, and other associations
  • About 450,000 athletes in NCAA
  • Strict regulations about coach-player contacts
  • Division 1 has stricter eligibility requirements
  • Average scholarship amount for D1: about $14,000
  • Average scholarship amount for D2: about $5,000
  • Website: www.ncaa.com



The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes is mostly comprised of smaller private universities.  The athletic and academic standards aren’t as high as with the NCAA, and there are fewer rules about foreign athletes.  This makes the NAIA a good choice for international athletes looking for scholarships.

Just because the athletic standard is lower than with the NCAA, it doesn’t mean that the NAIA isn’t competitive or is subpar.  The NAIA D1 is on par with the NCAA D2.

  • Mostly smaller private colleges
  • 255 member institutions
  • Many foreign players
  • Average D1 scholarship amount: $6,000
  • Website: www.naia.org



The National Junior College Athletic Association is considered the baby of sports scholarships.  It is made up of 2-year community colleges.  In the United States, community colleges are usually small, and have few (or no) academic requirements for acceptance.  Their areas of study are usually broader as well.  Because community colleges are so much cheaper than large public universities, many students in the US first attend community colleges and then transfer the course credits over to a larger university later.

The NJCAA athletic teams aren’t going to draw in big crowds like the NCAA or NAIA does, and the facilities aren’t going to be as great.  However, athletes shouldn’t dismiss NJCAA scholarships completely.  The NJCAA is a good option for students who didn’t get accepted to the NCAA or NAIA because of academics.  They can spend two years at the community college getting their grades up, and then try for a NCAA or NAIA scholarship.  The NJCAA is also a good way for foreign players to get noticed by coaches.  Coaches often prefer to take players from the NJCAA because they have proven their dedication and their ability to balance life as a student athlete.

  • 2-year community colleges
  • 525 membership schools
  • Stepping stone to the NCAA or NAIA
  • Low/no academic requirements
  • Low eligibility requirements
  • Average scholarship amount: about $2,000
  • Website: njcaa.org

Want to learn whether you are eligible for a sports scholarship in the USA?  Fill out the free application form here.



Are you dreaming of getting an athletic scholarship to play soccer in the USA? No matter how good you are, don’t expect the coaches to come looking for you! You have to take the initiative and reach out to soccer coaches and let them know why you would be a great asset to their team.   You can read more about that in our article about how to apply for a sports scholarships.

soccer universities

There are over 200 schools in the United States with NCAA Division 1 soccer programs. If you think you are good enough to land a soccer scholarship with one of these schools, then you will need to reach out to their coaches. Obviously, it would be excessive to reach out to 200+ coaches, so you’ve got to narrow down the soccer schools.

One way to narrow down soccer schools is to go to the NCAA ranking page for men’s soccer and women’s soccer. You can see which schools are doing best and contact their coaches. But there is more to choosing a soccer school than just its rankings! You will also need to look at factors like the location of the school, the cost of the school (most soccer scholarships are only partial), and the size of the school. Most importantly, make sure you like the academic program because ultimately you will be a student athlete at the school.

We’ve listed the top 10 NCAA Division 1 soccer universities in America based on their soccer stats and academic programs.


University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

UNC has a lot of reasons to boast. They’ve taken home the NCAA championship 21 times and many of their student athletes have gone on to the USA Olympic Team. They also have great facilities, a huge fan base and are building a brand-new stadium. They also can boast when it comes to academics, ranking #30 on the US News College Rankings list.

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Enrollment: 18,350
  • Tuition: $33,644
  • Established: 1789
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
  • Acceptance Rate: 5%


University of Notre Dame

Norte Dame has D1 men and women’s soccer, and they are considered one of the best soccer schools in the country. They are one of three schools which has multiple national titles and also ranks second in all-time title game appearances. Their women’s soccer team is particularly impressive with 10 Conference Titles (Big East), 4 MCC Conference Titles, 3 National Championships and 17 College Cup Appearances. Academically, Notre Dame ranked #18.

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Enrollment: 8,448
  • Tuition: $47,929
  • Established: 1842
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
  • Acceptance Rate: 1%



The UCLA Bruins are top-ranked for both men and women’s soccer. They have an impressive stadium and student athletes will get a thrill out of playing in front of huge, cheering audiences. The real reason that UCLA is one this list of best soccer colleges in the USA though is because the school is so prestigious. They are ranked #23 in the United States and have diverse student body with over 800 student organizations to get involved in.

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Enrollment: 29,633
  • Tuition: $26,322
  • Established: 1919
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
  • Acceptance Rate: 6%


University of Virginia

The UVA Cavaliers have played in 15 of the 19 ACC Tournament Championship matches, and won 10 ACC titles and 7 NCAA Tournament Championships. Their Klockner Stadium is also famous and draws in big crowds on game day. As an academic institution, UVA ranks well at #26 and has a more relaxed suburban-style campus than many other large universities.

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Charlottesville, VA
  • Enrollment: 15,483
  • Tuition: $43,822
  • Established: 1819
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
  • Acceptance Rate: 29%


Duke University

Ranked #8, Duke University is one of the top universities in the USA and is known worldwide. The Duke Blue Devils may not have won many NCAA soccer championships, but it is still a school to be reckoned with. International student athletes will likely appreciate the high amount of diversity in the school. Just be warned that this is a tough school to get into, academically and athletically!

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Enrollment: 6,626
  • Tuition: $49,341
  • Established: 1838
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
  • Acceptance Rate: 4%


Other Notable Soccer Universities in the USA

  • Clemson University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Washington
  • Creighton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Indiana
  • University of Connecticut
  • Louis University
  • University of Akron
  • University of California, Santa Barbara

Remember, there are also soccer scholarships available at the Division 2 level, and through the NAIA and NJCAA.  If you are in the UK, you can schedule a soccer assessment here to see what your chances are of getting a scholarship!


Image credit: “Robyn Gayle – UNC Tar Heels” by Jarrett Campbell – originally posted to Flickr as IMG_0297. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons
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