How Can South Africans Study in the USA on Scholarship?

by Jan 15, 20210 comments

For South Africans, the chance to study at a USA University on a scholarship is a dream opportunity. However, the process of finding and winning a sports scholarship can be complex and daunting. This can put many people off the idea from the beginning, despite the clear advantages to studying abroad. This blog explores exactly what the benefits are, and how a South African can go about finding and winning a scholarship to a USA University.

What are the benefits of studying abroad as a South African? 

Studying abroad allows students to explore new surroundings, gain a better understanding of how the world works, and become self-sufficient. One of the key advantages is the impact on students’ personal growth, diversity of thought, and experiences. These attributes give students the upper hand in any job search. 

Employers worldwide are looking for well-rounded candidates. Many believe that prospects who studied abroad adapt more quickly to new environments and are able to better understand global business. Most international students earn higher salaries than homegrown students, and almost 25% of employers would choose the candidate who studied abroad when deciding between two potential hires. 

An impressive university facade and tree-lined avenue are covered in a dusting of snow. For South Africans, this shows the severity of cold weather in the USA.

Where is the best place for South Africans to study abroad and win scholarships?

When deciding on a study destination, there are a few factors to consider. These include climate, culture, language, and of course, price. Cold weather, different cultures, and language barriers can sometimes make it difficult for South Africans to adapt to their surroundings; but cost is undoubtedly the most significant factor. Without funding, most students are unable to study abroad. 

The USA, the UK, and Australia are the most popular destinations for South Africans, as there is no language barrier and minimal cultural differences. However, the problem of cost persists, making the UK and Australia unaffordable for most of South Africa. With high costs of living and universities often costing more than R500,000 per year, studying in these locations is a huge financial ask. However, the USA provides some unique funding opportunities that are unrivalled anywhere else in the world. 

How can you get into a USA University as a South African?

The USA University academic year starts in late August, and ends in May. The application period begins in November, with early applications. Regular applications open in December, and run through April.

Most University applications can be made online through the Common Application Service, but some colleges will require you to apply directly on their websites. When applying, you will need to pick the course you want to study and the universities you wish to attend. There is no limit to the number of universities you can apply for. Each university will charge an application fee and require you to submit supplementary material such as essays, a resume, report cards, and your SAT scores. It is better to pick a handful of universities that you have carefully researched than to try 20 “long shot” universities. This is because the quality of each application will be significantly reduced if you are unable to spend sufficient time on them. Once you have applied, you will receive your admissions results (and possibly acceptance letters) 4 to 6 weeks after applying. 

A shelf of books on advanced subjects, notably on titled "The Arab World", reflecting the intellectual rigour required to win an academic scholarship to a US University

How can South Africans study at a USA University on a Scholarship? 

On the surface, USA universities look very expensive. The tuition fees and housing and food bills can set you back over $50,000 per year, before you book your plane tickets and pay your visa expenses. This leads most South Africans to write off the USA before they even get started. Don’t let this scare you; once you scratch the surface, there are many scholarships that students can apply for. On top of significantly reducing the fees, these awards can carry prestige, such as the Fulbright Scholarship. 

Most universities also provide students with merit-based scholarships upon their application, without them having to submit a separate scholarship application. Admissions offices perform scholarship reviews at the same time as they make their admissions decisions. If you qualify, you will be notified of your scholarship grant in your acceptance letter. 

Can South Africans win Sports Scholarships to USA Universities? 

South African students do have the opportunity to win sports scholarships to American Universities. The process can be long and confusing and is vastly different from the regular university admission process. Without being directly recruited by a USA college coach or receiving assistance from someone with experience in the process, finding a sports scholarship can seem like an impossible task. 

A group of university students on a soccer team practice by playing keep-ups.

Over the last five years, Aspire Atlantic has helped over 400 South African athletes find and win sports scholarships to USA universities. This affords them the life-changing experience of playing in America and receiving a world-class education.

Our company was founded by a South African who played four years of NCAA soccer while earning a Bachelors’ degree. He has subsequently built South Africa’s most successful sports scholarship agency. We know that most of the students in our programme want to play their sports professionally; however, 99% will not succeed. We at Aspire Atlantic have made it our mission to ensure all of our students can still pursue their professional sports aspirations without sacrificing their education. Life happens to the best-made plans; we ensure that you are covered for every eventuality. 

Remember, it’s always the perfect time to begin your journey towards studying at the university of your dreams. Sign up here for a free consultation with one of our recruitment experts. You could join over 300 student-athletes already placed in the USA, competing at the highest level and earning a world-class degree!


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