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Sports Scholarship for International Students

All around the world, higher education institutions offer gifted students to play for college sports teams as a means of paying for their education.

All around the world, higher education institutions offer gifted students to play for college sports teams as a means of paying for their education. Sports achievements are greatly appreciated everywhere and can become a basis for securing a scholarship.

To succeed in your search for athletic scholarships, you need to thoroughly investigate all the available options. Here are some tips for this process:

  • Start as soon as possible. It is recommended to begin the research about 18 to 24 months before you expect to enroll at a university. 
  • Check the requirements. For example, there are Eligibility Requirements for student-athletes in the USA.
  • Take a proactive approach: do not wait for a college coach to find and contact you. Make yourself visible. 
  • Consider writing a sports CV, bio, or resume that highlights your athletic achievements, as well as filming videos of your game/event performance. 
  • Consider getting letters of recommendation from your coaches and other mentors to describe how they see your potential to thrive and represent the university.

The United States is the most common study abroad destination for student-athletes. This country has a great tradition of students playing for university teams and securing scholarships through their athletic performance.

To be considered for an athletic scholarship, you have to submit your application and documents to a special database. There are several organizations to support student-athletes.

The schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association award nearly $3.5 billion in athletic scholarships every year. The association has three divisions. Division 1 schools provide full scholarships, cost-of-attendance stipends, and degree completion programs. Division 2 schools award partial scholarships that students combine with academic or need-based grants to construct their financial aid package. Division III doesn’t award athletics scholarships, yet roughly 80% of student-athletes receive some form of academic grants or need-based scholarships.

All divisions have different requirements. To play sports at a Division I or II school, you must graduate from high school, complete 16 NCAA-approved core-course credits, and

earn a minimum core-course grade-point average (GPA) that matches your SAT or ACT score before enrolling full-time in university.

NAIA is an association that helps future student-athletes connect with NAIA school coaches and athletic scholarships. The member universities are smaller, yet it is another opportunity to make yourself known to coaches. Every student-athlete needs to register with the NAIA Eligibility Center to play sports at an NAIA college or university. Make yourself visible by posting a video showing your skills and signing up for the showcase.

There are recruiting networks such as Athletic Scholarships (over 35,000 college coaches) and BeRecruited. Through BeRecruited, student-athletes have built over 25 million connections with college coaches and represent more than 80% of all high schools in the US. BeRecruited supports over 30,000 registered college coaches and 25,000 registered high school and club coaches in addition to over 2 million athletes. You can create a free profile and showcase your ability by adding stats, videos, and more.

In Canada, while preparing to apply to a university and for a scholarship, you may create a sports portfolio that includes photos and videos of you, as well as research universities and conditions for receiving sports scholarships in various provinces. You may find offers by International Athletic Scholarships on the websites of the universities. In many cases, there are no applications for these awards: you have to write directly to the university coach or student financial aid office. In some cases, there are formal applications that you have to submit to be considered for an award.

Two associations oversee university athletics in Canada: U SPORTS and the Canadian Student Sports Association. The financial awards offered at U Sports are compiled from different sources. In the end, the university coach decides how many awards to give to a particular student. The amount will vary depending on the institution, finances, sports results, and other things that the coach considers. Scholarships can range from less than 1000 CAD to funds that cover the full cost of tuition and other university fees.

Student-athletes are usually required to have a high school certificate with a minimum average score of 80%, high GPA and language test result. However, athletic performance is a key factor that affects scholarship size. Athletes can also receive a sports scholarship at the end of the first year of university education.

The majority of scholarships at the UK universities do not cover tuition, but rather costs of living (partly) and vary from 500 to 10.000 pounds a year depending on a university and the scholarship program. Unfortunately, the most well-known Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) and scholarships such as Winning Students Scotland are only available to UK citizens. Many universities list athlete awards on their websites (for example, the University of Kent or the University of Nottingham). There are also a few scholarships that cover full tuition such as Gridiron Grant Scholarship.

In Germany, the tuition fees may not be a problem, but you can still get a scholarship that will partially cover your living expenses. One of them is Deutschlandstipendium. It is awarded to high-achieving people, including those who excel in sports. It is funded in part by the government and in part by universities, corporate organizations, or individual benefactors. Each scholarship recipient receives a total of 300 euros monthly for the duration of two semesters. If you apply for any of the DAAD scholarships, sports achievements are going to look great on your CV.

To conclude, if you achieve high results in sports, it makes sense to use it to get a scholarship. Many universities in Europe and North America need skilled athletes and are ready to offer athletic scholarships to prospective students. This, of course, should be accompanied by academic achievements.