How to get a USA University Sports Scholarship

by Jun 12, 2020

With over 4000 colleges and universities in the USA, there are plenty of opportunities for student-athletes to receive sports scholarships. However, the process of obtaining such a scholarship can be quite daunting for an international if you don’t know what exactly is needed to get the process going. Aspire Atlantic’s focus is to assist student-athletes with this intimidating process, so please read below for more information on what is needed to procure a sports scholarship in the USA.

​Sporting Ability

First things first – the level of sport you are playing is a crucial part when looking to further your sports career on a collegiate level. University coaches are receiving 100s of athlete profiles per month, and like any sports team – they want their team to be the best, therefore they will only recruit the top athletes. 

There are three different Sports Associations in the USA, the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA – all have different requirements for sports recruits. Depending on the university and sport, you would have to be a provincial or national athlete if you would like to receive a significant scholarship. Here at Aspire Atlantic, we can help you determine where your focus should be and what universities and sports teams would be a good fit for you. Please click here if you would like to see the specific requirements for each sport.

Academic Requirements:

As you start thinking of pursuing a college career, you must remember that your academics are very important. Student-athletes aren’t called this for just the sake of it – you are a student first before you are an athlete. In order to be considered for a sports scholarship your final report cards from Grade 9 to Grade 12 are used to calculate your Grade Point Average (GPA). With a good GPA, more academic doors will remain open for you. For more information on how the GPA is calculated, and how it affects your university list, please click here.

Many South Africans who are aspiring to study in the USA will also need to write the SAT exam in order to apply to their dream universities. The purpose of the SAT is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. Coaches take a student’s SAT score into consideration when it comes to offering sports scholarships – and the higher your SAT score, the more likely you will be offered an academic scholarship too. Here are some guidelines on how to go about registering for the SAT.

Highlights Video:

As an international athlete, it is very difficult to travel to the USA and attend tryouts for a specific university sports team. Technology has changed the scouting game completely, with highlights videos becoming the most popular means of talent identification. When you are looking to procure a sports scholarship, it is very important to have a highlights video ready for the coaches to view. Your video should include all your best games, races, events and training footage helps too. Start recording these videos as early as you can, to ensure that you have enough footage to include in your highlights video.

By providing Aspire Atlantic with enough footage, we create your highlights video to the level of quality that coaches are expecting. For more tips on video footage, and the specific sports who need it most, please read here.


When the time comes and your profile is ready to be sent the coaches, Aspire Atlantic will build you a coaches list, based on your academics and athletic ability. As mentioned before – depending on the level at which you are playing the sport.

Securing a scholarship at your favourite university is very much dependable on how well you and the coach are getting along. Once the coach has made contact with you, it is very important to keep building that relationship with him/her. You are going to spend the majority of your day’s training and competing with your coach, so a healthy relationship and understanding between you two, is what is needed. If a coach likes you, the chances of earning a significant scholarship increases. These relationships can be built via Video Calls, WhatsApp messages, regular emails and social media.

To get some useful tips on how to build strong relationships with coaches, you are more than welcome to click here and read more about this topic.

University Applications:

While you are chatting with coaches and working on those relationships, they will start to mention University applications. This is another step in securing your final sports scholarship offer – and it is also a means of finding out, how much academic scholarship you qualify for. University applications usually take time and cannot be done in one seating. Your Grade 9 to Grade 12 report cards and SAT scores will be the first things to be submitted. You will also need to submit a copy of your passport and specific financial documents. For more information on application documents required, you can click here.

​As you can see, there are quite a lot of factors going into this journey of procuring a sports scholarship in the USA. Academics, tests, videos, application processes – it all can become quite overwhelming! So…How can we help? Sign up with Aspire Atlantic today, for a free evaluation, and we would love to assist you in turning your “American dream” into a reality!


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