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No1 for American Sports Scholarship Funding

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

If you are a talented swimmer or diver, you might be able to get a scholarship to study in America. One option is a NAIA scholarship, which is the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Here is what you need to know about NAIA Swimming and Diving Scholarships in America.

naia swimming scholarships

Why Go for an NAIA Swimming Scholarship?

When it comes to swimming scholarships in the United States, you’ve got 3 main options: NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA. Of the 3, the NCAA is the most well-known and also the most prestigious. However, it is also the most competitive. Talented student athletes might not be able to get a scholarship with the NCAA but find many opportunities at the NAIA level open to them. Don’t think this means the NAIA isn’t competitive though, or that the facilities are sub-par. The NAIA is on par with NCAA Division 2.

It is also important to note that NAIA schools are usually much smaller than NCAA schools. Most NAIA swimming schools have just around 1,000 to 2,000 students. Some schools have fewer than 500 students. Compare this to NCAA schools which can have as over 30 thousand students! As an international student athlete, you might find it easier to adjust at a smaller NAIA school.

How to Get an NAIA Swimming and Diving Scholarship

One of the biggest mistakes that student athletes make is sitting back and expecting college coaches to find them. If you want to win a swimming and diving scholarship in the USA, you have to do the work. This means making an athletic CV, a highlight video, and actively contacting coaches. As a first step, we recommend getting a professional swimming assessment. At the assessment, you will get unbiased information about your abilities, what you need to work on, and what your realistic chances are of getting a scholarship.

One of the main benefits with NAIA scholarships is that there are virtually no restrictions about coach-athlete contacts. You can contact coaches whenever you want, and the coaches can contact you back. By comparison, the NCAA has very strict rules about contacts, and coaches are only allowed to contact athletes during certain periods.

Get your CV and highlights video together and send them to coaches at some NAIA schools you are interested in. Make sure you write a stellar letter of introduction explaining why you want to swim and dive with that particular school.

NAIA schools tend to have very small recruiting budgets. Don’t expect a coach to travel to see you compete! You will likely have to visit the school yourself, meet the coach, and be assessed before getting a scholarship offer.

If you get a scholarship at an NAIA school, you aren’t stuck there. One other benefit of NAIA scholarships is that you can transfer to another NAIA school. For example, you might get a partial scholarship to one school. You perform very well during your freshman year and are then offered athletic scholarships from other NAIA schools. You could transfer without athletic penalties.

To learn more about NAIA scholarships, visit these pages:

Read about how to apply for a sports scholarships in the USA here.

Average Scholarship Amounts

Each NAIA school is allowed to offer a total of 8 scholarships for swimming and diving. They are free to divide up these scholarships however they want though. For example a school might offer 1 full scholarship, 10 half scholarships, and 4 quarter scholarships.

The average NAIA swimming and diving team size is 15, so there is a fairly good chance of getting a scholarship. However, there is a slim chance you will get a full scholarship, especially as a freshman.

Currently, the average NAIA scholarship amount for swimming and diving is about $7,700 (men) and $8,300 (women). Remember that this can vary drastically depending on the school and size of the scholarship!

NAIA Swimming and Diving Schools

There are currently 26 schools which offer Men’s Swimming & Diving, and 29 schools which offer Women’s Swimming and Diving. For both men and women, 20 events are offered.


Want to know whether you qualify for an NAIA Swimming & Diving scholarship? Fill out the free assessment form here.


If you are a talented track and field athlete, your athleticism might just be your ticket to a sports scholarships in the USA. While the NCAA gets the most attention, student athletes shouldn’t dismiss the benefits of a NAIA track and field scholarship.

NAIA track and field


Why Go for a NAIA Track & Field Scholarship?

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) was founded in 1937 and consists of about 300 participating schools and 60,000 student athletes. While it doesn’t have the elite status which comes with NCAA Division 1, the NAIA is also very competitive and allows students and opportunity to continue playing sports they love while getting an education.

NAIA is on par with NCAA Division 2. The athletic and academic standards are lower than with the NCAA, so NAIA scholarships are a good opportunity for athletes who probably won’t get an NCAA scholarship. Don’t let the lower standards fool you. The top NAIA schools have excellent facilities and great coaches. So you will have an opportunity to improve your athletic abilities in the competitive environment of NAIA.

It is worth noting that most NAIA schools are much smaller than the large NCAA universities. Many student athletes, especially international students, do better in this smaller, more intimate environment. Your team will also be smaller with the NAIA. Average NAIA Track & Field teams are 21 members (women’s) and 25 (men’s), compared to 38 and 39 members with the NCAA.


Playing Track & Field in the NAIA

The NAIA offers both indoor and outdoor Track & Field. There is only one division with NAIA Track & Field, and most schools offer scholarships.


  • Indoor Track & Field: 21 events for men and women
  • Outdoor Track & Field: 24 events for men and women


Do You Also Run Cross Country?

The NAIA also has Cross Country as a fall sport. You can also get a scholarship to run Cross Country, even if you already have a Track & Field scholarship. However, note that there are limits to how many scholarships schools can award. So you could get a partial scholarship for Cross Country, and another partial scholarship for Track & Field, to add up to a larger or a full scholarship.


Average NAIA Track &Field Scholarship Amounts

  • Men’s Track & Field: About $6,500
  • Women’s Track & Field: About $6,800


NAIA Track and Field Schools

At the NAIA website, you can see a list of participating schools for each sport. Here is the number of participating schools and a link to where you can see the list:

  • Men’s Indoor Track & Field: 139 schools (list here)
  • Women’s Indoor Track & Field: 143 schools (list here)
  • Men’s Outdoor Track & Field: 170 schools (list here)
  • Women’s Outdoor Track & Field: 174 schools (list here)


NAIA Eligibility

Eligibility requirements with the NAIA are pretty straight forward. To be eligible for the NAIA, you must meet TWO of these three requirements:

  • Achieve a minimum of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT (Critical Reading and Math only.)
  • Achieve a minimum overall high school GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Graduate in the top half of your high school class.

USA students can apply for eligibility when they are halfway through their senior year. International students will have to wait until they complete their senior year. By this point, you should already have a scholarship offer and know where you are going to school. Do not delay in applying for eligibility! Otherwise, your scholarship might not be funded and you will not be allowed to compete until eligibility goes through! You can register at the NAIA Eligibility Center.

Note that you must pay a fee to apply for NAIA eligibility. For the 2015-2016 season, the fee is currently:

  • $75 for US and Canadian high school students
  • $100 for US and Canadian college transfer students, or students who have had more than a summer break after graduating from high school
  • $130 for international students


How Good Do I Have to Be to Get a Scholarship?

Track & Field is a highly competitive sport with many high school students playing the sport. Only about 1% of USA high school students will get an NAIA Track & Field scholarship, and the numbers are even less for foreign students. However, that doesn’t mean you should get discouraged.

To see how you compare athletically, go to the NAIA Track & Field championship pages. There you can see results. How do you compare to the top students?

Remember, it isn’t just athletic ability which counts towards getting a scholarship in the USA! Coaches are also looking to see that you are mature, a team player, and ready to handle the demanding life of being a student athlete.  Learn about how to apply for a sports scholarships in the USA here.


Want to know whether you qualify for an NAIA Track & Field scholarship? Fill out the free assessment form here.


Do you dream of playing soccer in an American college or university? If you are talented and dedicated, then the good news is that there are many soccer scholarships available. In addition to NCAA and NJCAA soccer scholarships, there is also the NAIA.

naia soccer scholarships


Why Consider an NAIA Soccer Scholarship?

When talking about USA soccer scholarships, it is usually NCAA Division 1 which comes to mind. While the NCAA D1 is definitely the most elite of the college sports, it isn’t for everyone.

First off, there is the issue of whether you will even make the cut. As talented as you might be, there are also many other talented youths out there and Division 1 NCAA is very competitive. The reality is that you might be much better off aiming for a lower-level soccer scholarship.

As far as NAIA soccer goes, it is still very competitive and you will play alongside talented athletes. It is on par with the NCAA D2.

Another benefit of choosing the NAIA is that it is made up of smaller colleges (as opposed to the large universities which mainly make up the NCAA). The atmosphere is much more intimate and personal. For foreign athletes coming to study in the USA, this atmosphere can be much more inviting and easy to adjust to.


NAIA Soccer Scholarship Amounts

NAIA schools are allowed to give out 12 scholarships per team. The average team size is 28 (for men) and 20 (for women). The scholarships can be divided up into partial scholarships.

The amount of scholarship you will receive varies on the school and your athletic abilities. In 2014, the average NAIA soccer scholarship amounts were:

  • $6,473 (men)
  • $6,982 (women)

This is considerably less than the average NCAA D1 scholarship amount. However, it is on par with the amount given at the NCAA D2 level.


NAIA Eligibility

In the past, NAIA scholarships were awarded by the individual schools. Now, the rules have changed and student athletes must first register with the NAIA Eligibility Center. It is very important that you register right away! Otherwise, your scholarship won’t be funded. You won’t even be allowed to play on the team until your eligibility is cleared – you could be forced to watch on the sidelines while your teammates play just because you didn’t register on time.

Don’t worry that you will get awarded an NAIA scholarship only to find out later that you aren’t eligible. The eligibility requirements are pretty simple and straight-forward.

To be eligible for the NAIA, you must meet TWO of these three requirements:

  • Achieve a minimum of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT (Critical Reading and Math only.)
  • Achieve a minimum overall high school GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Graduate in the top half of your high school class.

USA students are allowed to apply for NAIA eligibility when they are midway through their senior year. International students must wait until they have finished high school to apply. By this point, you should already have a scholarship offer and know where you are going to college.

Note that you must pay a fee to apply for NAIA eligibility. For the 2015-2016 season, the fee is currently:

  • $75 for US and Canadian high school students
  • $100 for US and Canadian college transfer students, or students who have had more than a summer break after graduating from high school
  • $130 for international students


NAIA Soccer Schools

There are current 197 schools offering men’s soccer and 197 schools offering women’s soccer (not all schools offer both men’s and women’s soccer, so the total number of NAIA soccer schools is over 200).

Top NAIA Men’s Soccer Schools

  • Davenport (Michigan)
  • Northwestern Ohio
  • Marymount (California)
  • Lindsey Wilson (Kentucky)
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Ashford University (Iowa)
  • University of Texas at Brownsville
  • Rio Grande (Ohio)
  • Missouri Valley College
  • Grand View (Iowa)

Top NAIA Women’s Soccer Schools

  • Lindsey Wilson (Kentucky)
  • Northwestern Ohio
  • Concordia (Oregon)
  • Embry-Riddle (Florida)
  • Westmont (California)
  • Northwood (Florida)
  • Spring Arbor (Michigan)
  • Martin Methodist (Tennessee)
  • William Carey (Mississippi)
  • Cumberland (Tennessee)

Want to know whether you qualify for an NAIA golf scholarship? Fill out the free assessment form here.


Image credits:Aquinas Saints Men’s Soccer NAIA Playoffs November 05, 201120 by Steven Depolo, work found at Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

NAIA golf scholarships

When it comes to golf scholarships in the USA, you’ve got three governing bodies which gives out scholarships: The NCAA, the NAIA and NJCAA.

  • NCAA: These are usually at large public universities. Golf scholarships available for Division 1 and Division 2 levels
  • NAIA: These are usually from smaller private colleges. Golf scholarships available for Division 1 and Division 2
  • NJCAA: These are from community colleges. Scholarships available for Division 1 and Division 2


Why Consider an NAIA Golf Scholarships?

When looking for golf scholarships, most people immediately think of NCAA Division 1 golf schools, which is the most esteemed level of college golf. However, for many golfers, getting an NCAA D1 golf scholarships just isn’t a possibility. Further, even if you do get a NCAA golf scholarship, it probably isn’t going to be a full scholarship. NCAA universities can be quite costly, so it might be better to take a scholarship with a more affordable NAIA school instead.

NAIA Division 1 is on par with NCAA D2, so don’t worry that you will be missing out on a competitive atmosphere by going with the NAIA instead. Many NAIA golf schools have great facilities and coaches as well.

The NAIA tends to attract a lot of international athletes. NAIA schools also tend to be much smaller and intimate than the massive NCAA public universities. For foreign students who are just getting their footing in the USA, this can be a much more welcoming environment.


How Good Do I Need to Be to Get an NAIA Golf Scholarship?

It varies by school, but here are some general guidelines on how good you need to be to win an NAIA golf scholarship. Bear in mind that you might not get a full scholarship. The better you are, the better your chances of getting a full scholarship. Also, remember that it isn’t just your golf stats which recruiters look at. Your grades matter as coaches want to know that you will be able to handle life as a student athlete.


For Men:

  • Driving distance: 260+ yards
  • Putts per round: Under 34
  • Scrambling: 40%
  • Average scores from courses over 6800 yards: Low end 67; high end 83
  • Competes in local tournaments with high finishes; preferably competes regional events

For Women:

  • Driving distance: 225+ yards
  • Putts per round: Under 36
  • Scrambling: 45%
  • Average scores from courses over 6400 yards: Low end 68; high end 92
  • Competes in local tournaments with high finishes; preferably competes regional events


NAIA Golf Universities and Colleges

The NAIA is rather small with a total of 300 schools and about 60,000 students. About 90% of student athletes in the NAIA have scholarships, however it is impossible to know exactly how many scholarship golf athletes there are because the NAIA does not maintain a public database like the NCAA does. On average, NAIA athletes receive about $7,000 in financial aid.

178 NAIA schools offer men’s golf. 163 NAIA schools offer women’s golf.


Some of the best NAIA golf schools are:

  • Coastal Georgia
  • William Woods University
  • Oklahoma City University
  • Johnson & Wales University-Florida
  • Wayland Baptist University
  • South Carolina Beaufort
  • CSU San Marcos
  • Texas Wesleyan University
  • Northwood University Florida
  • SCAD Savannah
  • University of Cumberlands
  • Dalton State


Want to know whether you qualify for an NAIA golf scholarship? Fill out the free scholarships application form here.


Transitioning to life as a foreign student in America is difficult, but it is even more challenging for student athletes who have to balance academics with sport. If you’ve been awarded a college golf scholarship in the USA or are interested in playing college golf, here are some tips to help the transition go smoothly.

college golf 


1. Get a Professional Golf Assessment

If you are serious about improving your golf game, then you will need to have a professional golf assessment. This is the only way you are going to get an unbiased review of your strengths and weaknesses so you know what you need to work on.   If you haven’t been offered a golf scholarship yet, the assessment will also let you know of your real chances of winning a scholarship based on skills and academics. You can learn more about golf assessments in the UK here.


2. Get Familiar with the NCAA Website

The NCAA website has a lot of great resources for college-bound athletes and current student athletes. For starters, we suggest downloading the Guide for the College Bound Athlete, which you can do here.


3. Record and Analyze Your Stats

In order to improve your golf game, you’ve got to identify your weaknesses. The more information you have about your golf game, the better you will be able to do this. Start keeping statistics of all your scoring averages, fairway accuracy, sand saves… Once you have this information, you will have an in-depth overview of your game and know what you need to work on. There are a lot of apps which can help you track and analyze your stats, such as shotbyshot.com, and getrealgolfstats.com.


4. Learn to Cook

Ever heard of the “freshman 15” – the 15lbs that college freshman usually gain during their first year? A major reason for this weight gain is that college students end up eating a lot of junk food instead of the home-cooked meals they are used to.   Nutrition is incredibly important to staying on top of your game as a student athlete, so you should learn how to cook some simple, healthy meals. Bear in mind that college dorms usually only have mediocre kitchens, so figure out some meals which can be made on a hot plate or in a microwave. Also see what meal program your college offers so you can plan your nutrition accordingly.


5. Start a Fitness Program to Improve Swing

Much of golf comes down to the swing. But, unfortunately, the weakest part of our body – the core — is what ultimately controls the swing. To improve your golf for college, you need to start a fitness program to improve swing. At Golf Digest, there is a good article about exercises for improving swing.


6. Improve Your Time Management Skills

The life of a student athlete is incredibly demanding. You not only have to handle a complete course load, but you must attend early-morning practice sessions, tours, and more. Plus, you will be away from home for probably the first time in your life and have to learn to do things like laundry and cooking for yourself.

When recruiting golfers to their teams, coaches are particularly interested in finding juniors who will be able to handle this challenge. To make sure you are ready for the demands of student athlete life, work on your time management skills. For starters, here is one good article about time management.


7. Play Golf in the Summer

Now that you’ve gotten a golf scholarship and know where you will be going to college, you might be tempted to take it easy. But hanging out with your friends all summer isn’t going to prepare you for college golf.   You need to find summer events and compete in them. This will give you an opportunity to play on new courses, compete on a higher level, and meet other golfers.

If you haven’t gotten accepted to college golf program yet, then these summer events are particularly important. College coaches consider these events important on your golf resume and a sign of maturity.


8. Choose Your Classes Wisely

Even if you dream of playing professional golf, bear in mind that there are only 125 PGA Tour Cards. As much as you love golf, you should still focus on your college education as your degree will likely be your real ticket to a career.

In addition, you will need to choose your classes wisely to ensure you can handle the workload which comes with being a student athlete. If you load up on classes which don’t really interest you, then you are going to have a hard time focusing on them and getting good grades (which is a requirement for keeping golf scholarships). If you choose many classes which are too-tough, then you will also struggle to balance student and athlete life.


9. Keep Playing Other Sports

Do you currently play another sport in addition to golf? You might be tempted to give it up and focus on golf now that you are going to college. But playing other sports can help you develop skills which translate back to golf – especially when it comes to building strength, discipline, and teamwork skills.


10. Teach Someone Else the Game

According to a study published in the Journal of Science Education and Technology, a person becomes more proficient in an activity when he or she teaches it to another person. This phenomena is called “The Protégé Effect” and it works with golf too.

By teaching someone else how to play golf, it will help you think about the sport in a new way. As you explain techniques to others, you start to realize gaps in your own skills. Plus, teaching someone golf is a great way to improve your skills in patience and teamwork.



Here is a video of NCAA Division 1 powerhouse University of Memphis Tennesse soccer facilities. two players from the mens program give you a tour of the facilities and what it is like to be a student athlete on a day to day basis. In this video you will see an all access area of the Locker rooms, strength and conditioning facility, athletic training room for treatment and prevention of injuries and the training field. You will also see their indoor centre in which allows them to train all year round during the winter period. Most of the top young players in America are recruited by Division 1 programs so it is important they have the best facitilites available to help develop and compete at the highest level.


Do you have what it takes to earn a scholarship to a top Soccer program in the United States?


football soccer trials

Football trials used to be the way that clubs and teams found their talent. However, trials or talent days, are becoming increasingly rare. Clubs and teams now rely on a network of scouts to find talent. They often have contacts with schools and managers of local teams who keep them informed about promising talent. For example, Manchester United no longer holds open trials. Any boy who comes to their club will have first been assessed by one of their scouts.

This doesn’t mean that football trials are gone though. Now, many football trials are run by talent agencies who have contacts with prominent teams and clubs. If they see a talented player at their trials, then they pass the player on.

Thinking of signing up for a football trial? Here are some of the things you should know first!


1. Should you attend a football trial?

If you get invited to a football trial for a reputable club or pro team, great! But be wary of any football trial invitations you get from agencies you haven’t heard of.

A lot of agencies advertise their football trials by making promises like having pro scouts in attendance, or being able to get you a spot at a pro team. Then they take your attendance fee only to find out that the coach organizing the trial has no experience, reputation, or connections to pro teams.

There was even a big football trial scam a few years back during which fraudsters sent out letters and emails saying that they were licensed football agents.

The bottom line? Do your research into the football trial before deciding whether to attend.

2. There may be scouts in attendance, but maybe not

Be wary of any football trial which promises to have Premier League scouts in attendance. There may be scouts attending, but oftentimes there aren’t. If the football trial organizers are reputable, it won’t matter if scouts are in attendance because they will recommend you to the teams and clubs.


3. Don’t expect individual feedback

A football trial is different than a football assessment. During both, you perform in front of someone who assesses your abilities. But you won’t get any feedback after a football trial. If you want to learn about how you can improve your game and your chances of going pro or getting a football scholarship, then schedule a football assessment instead. United Sports USA holds football assessments in North London, West London, South London, East London, Birmingham, and Scotland.


4. Understand what coaches are looking for

There is a wide spectrum of qualities that coaches look for in perspective players, and players are often surprised and what coaches are really interested in. Some of the obvious things are technique, movement, and pace – but temperament is also incredibly important.

Coaches want to know that you are going to be able to handle playing in front of a packed stadium of screaming fans. That you will be able to handle an injury. That you will be able to encourage your teammates and give it your all.

Be sure to make a good impression by arriving to the football trial on time, dressed accordingly, and with all the required information/equipment. It is also a good idea to send the trial coach a letter of introduction beforehand along with your football CV.


5. Distribute your energy throughout the football trial

Before going to the football trial, make sure you fully understand what the schedule is. For example, a football trial may consist of 30 minutes of fitness training, 30 minutes or drills, and 30 minutes of match time.

Don’t spend all of your energy during the first part of the trial so you have nothing left for the match. Try to keep a steady pace until the match when you really give it your all!


Image by Jarrett Campbell Found at Flickr creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

When it comes to swimming scholarships in the United States, most are only familiar with the NCAA.   While NCAA scholarships are a great opportunity for many talented swimmers, they aren’t always the best option. Some swimmers and divers may want to consider NJCAA scholarships instead. Here is what you need to know about NJCAA swimming scholarships to determine if they are right for you.

njcaa swimming scholarships logo


The NJCAA and Community Colleges

For international students, the American system of higher learning can be pretty confusing. There are universities, colleges, and junior colleges (also called community colleges).

  • University: This is a 4-year institution which can be either private or public. Universities each set their own admission standards. Many universities have graduate programs.
  • College: Colleges in the United States are basically the same as universities. They are also 4-year institutions which can be public or private, and often have graduate programs. The only real difference is that colleges tend to be smaller than universities. Some universities have divisions called “College of Engineering” or “College of Liberal Arts.”
  • Junior College: A junior college, aka community college, is a 2-year institution. Graduates will get an Associate’s Degree or a Technical Degree. They have much lower admission requirements than universities and colleges.

The NJCAA (which stands for National Junior College Athletic Association) is the association which governs sports at the Junior College level. Like the NCAA and NAIA, it has three divisions: D1, D2, and D3. With Swimming and Diving, there is only D1. Full NJCAA D1 scholarships are available for swimmers and divers.


Reasons for Aiming for a NJCAA Swimming Scholarship

NCAA and NAIA institutions are very competitive and getting a scholarship may not be realistic. There are simply too many talented swimmers and divers out there, so you might not be able to get a good scholarship offer. The academic requirements at the NCAA and NAIA level are also fairly stringent. If your grades aren’t in order, then you may not be eligible for a NCAA or NAIA swimming scholarship. By comparison, the NJCAA has much lower standards. Each college sets its own admission requirements, but some literally have no other requirement than that you’ve finished high school – even with bad grades.

Here are some of the reasons you may need to consider a NJCAA swimming scholarship:

  • Your grades are bad and you don’t meet NCAA or NAIA requirements
  • You need to improve athletically, but are good enough for NJCAA
  • You started the recruiting process late and there are no more scholarships available at the NCAA and NAIA level
  • You want to get your feet wet (literally and figuratively) to see if you like being a student athlete, and then transfer to a 4-year college.
  • NJCAA colleges are much cheaper

About this last point: NJCAA colleges are much cheaper. Since you are aiming for a swimming scholarship, costs shouldn’t matter right? This isn’t the case, especially since freshman swimmers rarely get full ride scholarships in the NCAA or NAIA.

According to College Board, the average cost of a 4-year university with tuition and fees is $31,231 per year (private colleges) and $22,958 per year (public universities). By comparison, a year at a community college only costs about $2,076.  This is 10x less!

Even if you are great swimmer, the chances of you getting a full ride at a NCAA or NAIA institution are very slim. Ohio State’s coach Bill Dorrenkott says, women “need to be in the top 8 NCAA corer or very close walking through the door and even then they need to be able to contribute significantly on relays.”

For men, Florida’s Gregg Troy says, “If you are not in the top 8 at nationals or an outstanding high school short course swimmer, a full ride is probably not a reality.”

Consider that the average women’s swimming scholarship is about $9,500 and the average men’s swimming scholarship is about $6,500.   This may not come close to covering the costs of a year at a NCAA or NAIA institution.  You may be much better off starting at a cheaper junior college and then finishing your academics in a 4-year institution.


Using Your NJCAA Scholarship to Get a NCAA Full Ride

Consider what one college swimming coach had to say:

“We never give a full scholarship to a high school senior. It’s a $110,000 gamble on a 18 year-old kid. Internationals are another story. They’re older, more experienced and you need to pay full to get them.”

The takeaway from this? Coaches are more likely to give full scholarships to swimmers with experience. One way that you can get experience and prove your commitment to swimming is by competing for 2 years at a junior college.  Coaches will consider you less of a risk and be more likely to offer you a larger scholarship or even a full ride.

It is completely normal and common practice in the United States for students (and student athletes) to start at a junior college, finish the 2 years, and then transfer their course credits to a 4-year university.  This won’t just save you money on the first 2 years of education, but can increase your chances of getting a full-ride scholarship at the institution since you’ve already proven your commitment by playing with the NJCAA.


NJCAA Colleges with Swimming Scholarships

There are many junior colleges in the United States with Division 1 Swimming & Diving, particularly in New York State. Full scholarships may be available to you as a talented international swimmer.

  • Borough of Manhattan Community College – New York, New York
  • Fashion Institute of Technology – New York, New York
  • Genessee Community College – Batavia, New York
  • Herkimer County Community College – Herkimer, New York
  • Hostos Community College – Bronx, New York
  • Indian River State College – Fort Pierce, Florida
  • Iowa Central Community College – Fort Dodge, Iowa
  • Iowa Lakes Community College – Emmetsburg, Iowa
  • Jamestown Community College – Jamestown, New York
  • LaGuardia Community College – Long Island City, New York
  • Lincoln College – Lincoln, Illinois
  • Monroe Community College – Rochester, New York
  • Ocean County College – Toms River, New Jersey
  • Queensborough Community College – Bayside, New York
  • South Georgia State College – Waycross, Georgia
  • Southwestern Oregon Community College – Coos Bay, Oregon


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