There are over 1,000 men’s & women’s college track & field programs in the USA with many offering scholarship opportunities to talented athletes who could have the ability to make an immediate contribution to the team.
Life as a college athlete is extremely challenging and will involve being fully committed as both a full-time athlete whilst simultaneously pursuing a degree as a full-time student. It is an environment that produces most of America’s professional and Olympic athletes.
Track & Field Scholarships: An introduction into the sports scholarship
The concept behind US Track & Field Scholarships is quite simple; it provides talented amateur sportsmen and women with an exclusive opportunity to pursue both an academic and athletic career simultaneously. A Track & Field Scholarship at an American university can cover some, and at times all, of the costs associated with earning a university degree. In return, the student-athlete will represent the university in soccer and maintain a good level of academic performance.
Track & Field originates from the original Olympic games and is amongst the oldest of all sporting competitions, now evolved into a professional and international sport. The first ever National Championship event conducted by the NCAA was the 1921 National Collegiate Track & Field Championships held at the University of Chicago. The Women's Track Championships are now held together at different venue's selected by the NCAA.
Some of the World's elite Track & Field stars have attended American colleges and universities on athletic scholarships before going-on to achieve 'track greatness'. During the Beijing Olympics, the University of Southern California and the University of California - Berkeley had 41 of their students competing; with 46 Stanford University athletes competing for medals also. Overall, over 44 Olympic medals were won by NCAA college scholarship athletes at the Beijing Olympics.
Track and Field is a highly competitive grouping of sporting events for obtaining a scholarship, with coaches looking for internationally experienced players. This means that the individual is more apt for the transition into collegiate, intercollegiate matches and then national competitions, if their track and ﬁeld scholarship application is deemed successful.
Track & Field Scholarships: When should I apply?
Prime time to apply for a sports scholarship in the US would be following graduation from high school or just a couple of years after. There have also been cases of applicants dropping out of UK higher education to pursue their dream of undertaking a sports scholarship in America. Athletes may only compete in college leagues if they are between the ages of 18-24, but if you are older, then the NAIA is where you will be assigned. When saying this, coaches are often more inclined to spur interest in younger prospects as it gives them more time to work with the athletes for a longer set period. Thus, it is advised to apply for a scholarship as early as possible, giving the individual an optimum chance at maintaining the strongest performance, athletically and academically, to achieve a highly regarded degree to then move onto the opportunity of turning professional.
Track & Field Scholarships: How good do I have to be?
To be considered for a Be Varsity Track & Field Scholarship, you should be physically ﬁt, have a high level of skill in Athletics; you should possess a real drive and ambition to succeed. Academically, you must have completed high school and have grades to meet the initial eligibility requirements for the NCAA, NAIA or NJCAA. Good academic standing is an essential aspect of life as a student-athlete and this must be maintained throughout your collegiate sports career. Failure to do so could see you prohibited from training and participating, and potentially lead to your scholarship being withdrawn completely. The NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA each have strict rules regarding the good academic standing of all competing athletes. College recruitment coaches will look at CVs, footage and will listen to Be Varsity Staff regarding athlete ability. A track and ﬁeld scholarship can cover many, sometimes all, of the costs associated with earning a university degree. In return, the student-athlete will represent the university in their respective sport and maintain a good level of academic performance.
Track & Field Scholarships: Training Schedule
If you are successful in receiving your track and ﬁeld scholarship, then you will be expected to practice with the team for up to 3-5 hours daily, ﬁve days a week. However training schedules will be created at the college coaches discretion following NCAA practice regulations. This will consist of drills dependent of track/ﬁeld event, strength and conditioning training. For an international scholarship holder, training has said to be tough at times because of the intensity of the training and conditioning, but don’t fear, we are sure you will acclimatise with no problems.
Apply now for your chance to be offered an track and ﬁeld scholarship in the USA!
To ﬁnd out whether you have what it takes to obtain a track and ﬁeld scholarship in America, please take a few minutes of your time to complete our free application form! Our team at Be Varsity will analyse and evaluate your potential as an American college athlete. If you have any other inquiries about the process then please feel free to call us up for a chat and we can further explain in more detail.
Be Varsity has secured thousands of scholarships to many of America's leading academic and athletic institutions; brokering tens of millions of dollars on their behalf in the process.
There are two types of scholarship that a prospective student-athlete can receive. A ‘full athletic scholarship’ or a ‘partial athletic scholarship’. Competition for scholarship money is extremely competitive with scholarships being offered to the best athletes.
A full athletic scholarship will mean that the university is paying for all tuition, accommodation, food, books and everything related to your sport. At some universities, a full scholarship can equal the investment of almost $400,000 in one, single athlete. At Be Varsity, one in every four of our athletes will receive a full scholarship.
A partial athletic scholarship is just as it sounds; it is where the university are offering you a deal that will cover some, but not all, of the costs associated with attending the university. If, for example, a university costs $50,000 and the coach is giving you a scholarship worth $45,000, then this is a partial scholarship as there is a $5,000 shortfall that the coach wants you to contribute towards the costs of attending the university. Most partial scholarships come with the incentive that if you perform well, both on the track and in the classroom, then the coach can reward you with a scholarship increase and cover any costs that you had been contributing towards.
There are also other scholarships that a university can offer (academic scholarships, for example) and these can be combined with an athletic scholarship to cover the costs associated with attending a university. It is worth noting that a scholarship will not cover the costs of your flight to and from the campus (personal travel) or any costs associated with the social aspect of life in America (shopping at mall, cinema, etc).
When Should You Start the Process?
Ideally, prospective student-athletes will begin the scholarship process in the first half of their penultimate year of secondary school. In the second half of that year, they will then take the SAT or ACT exam for the first time (the exam may be retaken) and begin communication with university coaches. The most intensive time for scholarship recruiting in the USA is between July and December. Many coaches prefer processing and finalising commitments with recruits in those months during the students’ last year of secondary school.
What’s the Next Steps?
The concept of sports scholarship agencies is an American phenomenon given the selectivity and diversity of their universities – and in this case, their track & field programs. Our job comes down to providing insight on the process specific to programs, managing expectations, and helping families negotiate the process efficiently.
To work with us, prospective student-athletes or their parents would submit an initial application, which, after a conversation is followed-up by an interview between the student and one of our scholarship consultants. This is free of charge and we always seek to provide feedback to families after this process. If we believe the individual has a realistic opportunity to secure a scholarship, we will send a proposal offering the family the opportunity to sign with Be Varsity and commence the sports scholarship process.