As an international athlete, seeking a scholarship to study and compete in the United States can be an exciting opportunity, and the gateway to a long and successful future career. Pursuing a sports scholarship combines a passion for athletics with a chance to secure a world-class education at a US institution, earning a degree that’s recognised and respected worldwide. It also offers numerous financial and athletic benefits that can be essential for a successful career in sports. In this article, we’re going to explore the key benefits of pursuing a US sports scholarship as an international athlete.
One of the biggest advantages of pursuing a US sports scholarship is the financial support it provides to drastically reduce the costs associated with being a student-athlete. Here are some of the financial benefits that international athletes can receive when they get a sports scholarship in the United States:
Tuition and Fees Coverage – The most significant financial benefit of a sports scholarship is that it can potentially cover some or all of your tuition expenses depending on the sport and how the funding is allocated throughout the team. In some cases, the scholarship will also cover additional academic fees, such as textbooks and other study-related expenses.
Housing and Meal Plan Assistance – Many universities with sports scholarships offer accommodation and meal plan support to their student-athletes. Depending on the college, meals and housing can be provided at no additional cost to the student. This can be particularly beneficial to international athletes who are not familiar with the area and can’t rely on the locality of family and friends for additional support.
Additional Financial Support – In addition to tuition, and housing, sports scholarships can offer additional financial support, including funding for travel, equipment, and other sport-related expenses. This extra support can be critical for athletes who require costly gear, such as specialized shoes, clothing, or training equipment. For most athletic programs within the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA, equipment required to actually compete in each specific sport is usually provided by the school.
Athletic Development Opportunities
As an international athlete, a sports scholarship provides exposure to a world-class athletic environment, with some of the very best staff in their respective fields, which can be vital to continued growth and development. Here are some athletic advantages of pursuing a sports scholarship in the US:
Access to Top-notch Coaching and Training Facilities – Most US universities with sports scholarships offer state-of-the-art athletic equipment and facilities. Athletes get access to fitness centres, training rooms, sports medicine facilities, and other resources, which can help them to develop highly competitive skills in their respective sports. In some cases, particularly in higher-level NCAA schools, the facilities and equipment can even surpass those used within professional sports. For example, A packed-out FA Cup Final game at Wembley Stadium in London can hold around 84,000 spectators. A packed-out college football game at the University of Michigan or Ohio State University will comfortably seat in excess of 100,000 fans on any given gameday.
While an athletic scholarship can be an excellent opportunity for athletes to hone their skills and compete at a high level, it also offers some life-changing academic benefits:
Pursuing a Degree While Training – Athletes can pursue their academic goals while still engaging in their sport. Universities offer flexible course schedules, allowing them to balance their academic and athletic commitments. They can also be assured of receiving excellent educational support from experienced professionals in their respective fields.
Academic Support and Resources – Most universities offer study resources, such as writing centres, tutoring, and student support services to help athletes excel in their studies and grow academically whilst balancing a full-time, dual schedule as an athlete. International athletes might face unique challenges in adjusting to a foreign academic environment, but these resources can provide the help they need.
Networking Opportunities with Fellow Athletes and Professionals – Athletes get the opportunity to develop meaningful connections with fellow students, coaches, and professionals in their field while pursuing a scholarship. These connections can provide valuable networks for future careers in the sport or other fields. All athletic programs have a list of close-knit former alumni that can range from inspirational business leaders, top professional athletes, and some of the top minds across the academic front.