College Planning by The Sport Source®
US Youth Soccer is proud to offer College Planning Resources and Tips from The Sport Source®. Please find below downloadable resources as well as College Tips provided free of charge from The Sport Source® to USYouthSoccer.org. Thanks to their support, USYouthSoccer.org will continue to update and add additional resources for our future collegiate players. Please note, all information contained herein is property of The Sport Source®
One of the most important decisions a young person will make while in high school is the choice of a college to attend. If the young student is fortunate to not only be academically qualified but also athletically as well, then opportunities exist to secure a college scholarship. A number of factors need to be taken into account when selecting a college such as:
- Local vs away-from-home
- Commuting vs residential campus
- Large vs small school
- Area of academic interest
- And of course the cost of education
The lucky student who also possesses recognized soccer abilities and skills has additional opportunities. College coaches are constantly on the lookout for new prospects. Oftentimes you will find coaches at tournaments viewing any number of players. As a prospective college player, it is of utmost importance that you do a thorough investigation of potential colleges and that you be identified as early as possible. Important vehicles for showcasing your abilities include tournaments, club soccer, high school soccer, and the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program. Many coaches begin identifying potential prospects in a player’s junior year of high school.
• NCAA Guide for College-Bound Student-Athletes [link]
• NCAA Schools that Sponsor Soccer [link]
• Sample Cover Letter [link]
• NCAA Soccer Programs and Scholarship Information [link]
• NCAA Clearinghouse [link]
• National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) [link]
• National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) [link]
College Planning Tips
Everyone knows schools that are top of mind in awareness. Someone has had a parent or a friend or a friend of a friend who attend a particular school. Now it is up to you to figure out which school is right for you. Here are a few things to consider when you choose to apply to a college.
There are colleges in every living environment you can imagine, from tiny towns in Iowa to the middle of California. If you have always lived in the suburbs, choosing an urban campus can be an adventure. See how you feel after a week of urban life, the variety of people, and the fast paced life and see if you miss a calmer campus and open space. On the other side, if you are used to the suburbs and mall life and choose a college in a rural area, you just might run to the Student Center some night looking for noise, lights, and people. Think about where you grew up and how much of a change you want from that when you go to college. We suggest you take ""un-official"" campus visits, talk to the students, tour the campus and city and spend more than a couple of days. Either way, make sure if you choose a school in the north, you like snow or in the south where typically it is sunshine most everyday.
Colleges come in all sizes, from a school in New York like Hartwick College that enrolls 2,500 students to schools like Pennsylvania State, which can enroll 30,000 or more. Which one is better? Well, that depends on you and what you want. If you grew up in a small town and went to a small high school or in a large city and attended a high school with a senior class of 3,000 only you can choose which best fits your goals. Whether you grew up in a city or a rural area you will need to consider factors like student-teacher ratio and if you want to be a person or a number. Ask yourself, if you like being places where everybody knows you, or do you like the anonymity of a crowd? Once you evaluate your goals, then making a clear and concise choice will be easy.
All colleges are not the same. Some have large graduate programs and devote much of their time and resources to research while others are small Liberal Arts schools with various programs of study offered. Some schools have a specialty in one specific area, like Colorado School of Mines who specialize in math and engineering, Southern Methodist University who offer Business and Law programs or Florida International University a university that offers business with hospitality being a specialty. Others schools might be best known for giving their students a broad education. Other factors include whether a school is single sex or coed, if they have a religious affiliation, and whether they are public or private. There are also historically black colleges, schools with co-op programs where you earn money while going to school, and schools with large evening and part-time programs. The options are almost limitless.
While location and distance are similar issues, how far from home you want to be just might be as important. For some going to college is a chance to explore a different part of the country. For other students and their parents having dinner with their family once a week may also be important. Don’t worry about going home to do your laundry, most college and university campuses have a laundry facility and others offer personal services and assistants to do your laundry for you.
While lots of kids will say … I can’t wait to go away to school and in many cases the parents are ready for them to go … the bottom line is how likely you are to get homesick, and how much money you can afford to spend in travel. The farther you are from home, the less often you’ll be able to visit. On the other hand, with email and cell phones, you can still feel close to home even if you’re in California and your family is in Texas. Reaching out and communicating is easy if you are mature and ready to take on the challenge.
V. Tuition/Scholarships & Financial Aid
Have you ever heard your parents say "Study and get good grades it will mean something". They were actually right! The cost of a college education is approximately $125,000 and in the next 15 years the cost is expected to exceed $200,000. While this seems expensive and almost out of reach to some families, cost should not be the only reason you and your family pass on a certain college or university. While cost is a top consideration that most parents think about when the topic of paying for college comes up, remember not all colleges cost the same. Also there are different types of financial aid programs at different schools and with so many scholarships available, paying for college can be easier than you might think. Your grades are worth money, your community service is worth money, your athletic ability may be worth money. In addition, where your parents work just might have scholarship dollars to give. Half the battle is asking and applying.
For example, if you lived in Texas and applied to the University of Texas, because it is a Public University the tuition is lower for in-state residents. The same is true for all public college and university programs where you live. Fees for out-of-state residents are usually pretty similar to private schools so consider all the factors when choosing a college or university. For a Private institution it does not matter if you live 2 blocks away or 2,000 miles away the price is still the same and because it is private, it is very selective in the admissions process. While both offer scholarships both academically and athletically narrowing your choices to the school that will give you the best advantage after graduation is important. Of the private schools the only ones that don’t offer scholarships athletically are the Ivy League schools, they are need based and if you show need, they will show you money. Again, with so many privately-funded scholarships available that go un-claimed each year you can help cover part of the cost of your education if you are serious.Do some research to identify scholarships and then apply.
VI. Admissions/Degrees Conferred
If you know what field you want to go into after college, it’s important to make sure you go to college somewhere that will prepare you for your chosen profession. If you are un-sure, consider Liberal Arts – either way you will need to declare your major by the end of your second year. If you want to be a doctor, you will want to pursue programs with a strong pre-med offering. Like many students entering their freshman year of college, you might not know what you want to do, so having options is important. Here is a tip, if you are not good in math, don’t pursue a degree in Engineering or Architecture since these are heavy in math.
Some schools require students to take classes in a wide variety of subjects during their Freshman and Sophmore years. These schools are great for students who either want a well-rounded education or are trying to figure out what area to focus on. Other schools let students just dive in to their chosen majors without a lot of other requirements. These schools are great for focused students who know what they want to do and don’t want to spend their time in classes that won’t help them in their major.
VII. Athletics and Events
If you are an athlete and are being recruited, this may also improve your chances of getting admitted to your choice of schools. Are you a sports fan? The sound of a marching band and the sight of a football uniform just might make the difference. At some schools, sports are the order of the day, the main social activity on most students’ calendars. Maybe you’re really into going to live concerts, or you love nothing better than to go hiking in the woods. If you like to spend your free time going to shows at clubs, you probably won’t be happy at a small school in the countryside where few acts stop on tour.
VIII. The Campus Visit
Your first stop on a campus visit is the visitor center or admissions office, where you will meet with a counselor or academic advisor. Take advantage of your visit and become familiar with the college by arriving 30 minutes or more before your appointment to tour and walk around the campus and talk to staff members and to browse through student newspapers that are available. This will give you a "glimpse" into college life and what it might be like for you.
Most organized campus visits include such campus facilities as dormitories, dining halls, libraries, student activity and recreation centers, and the health and student services centers. Some may only be pointed out, while you will walk through others. Bulletin boards in dormitories and student centers contain a wealth of information about campus activities, student concerns, and campus groups. Read the posters, notices, and messages to learn what really interests students. Unlike ads in the school newspaper, posters put up by students advertise both on- and off-campus events, so they will give you an idea of what is also available in the surrounding community.
Messages can also enhance your knowledge of the true character of the campus and its students.
As you walk through various buildings, examine their condition carefully. Here are some things to look for:
• Are the buildings safe?
• Are the exteriors and interiors of the building clean?
• Is the equipment in the classrooms up-to-date or outdated?
Pay particular attention to the dorms and campus, especially safety. Ask about security measures. Are the dorms noisy or quiet?
• Are the dorms crowded?
• How good is the lighting?
• Where are the dorms located?
• Do all athletes stay in one area or are they part of the general camps living?
• Are the dorms in one main area?
• Who has access to the dormitories in addition to students?
• What security measures are available for students entering and leaving the dorms?
• Can students request escorts to their residences late at night?
• Do campus shuttle buses run at frequent intervals all night?
• Are "blue-light" telephones liberally placed throughout the campus for students to use to call for help?
• Do the campus police patrol the campus regularly?
Here are some topics you may be considering. Click here to find more information on:
What it takes to play in college
When you are ready to play college athletics
Who you can trust
Paying for college - schedule for financial aid applicants
Paying for college - foreign students
The student athlete’s role in choosing a college
Essential questions to consider
Academic eligibility & admission requirements
The recruiting rules
NCAA Eligibility Center the fee is $50.00 and, if applicable, a student can request a waiver from the high school if he or she meets the criteria.
As an international applicant it is important to begin the process as early as possible. You should apply no later than 6 months prior to the semester in which you wish to begin your studies. You will need the extra time to obtain your official school records, arrange for the required examinations, forward bank verification of your financial resources, for your application to be reviewed, and to obtain your visa. It is important to note that many U.S. colleges and universities require international students applying for undergraduate studies (bachelor’s degree) to pay all expenses themselves. Many universities do not give scholarships or financial aid to international students seeking undergraduate studies, we encourage the student to check with each college or university before they apply and ask what financial aid if any would be available.
NCAA Eligibility Center - Choose the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse Online Application for Foreign Student-Athletes. The fee is $50.00 to register and is non-refundable.
International students usually are required to be proficient in the English language, and good students in their own countries before they will be considered for admission into a college in the U.S. Students usually should have 12 years of study in their own country, beginning at age six. The last four or five years should include the study of English, history, mathematics and science. Although each university may be different, this is a basic overview of what many universities require for application from international students:
An Application Form: Answer every question. Your principal or headmaster may also be asked to answer questions on the form. There may or may not be an application fee.
Financial Certification: The student or his/her parents must often submit proof that the family or sponsor can pay for the schooling. This amount can range anywhere from $14,000-$20,000 per year, including tuition, room, food, books, and other miscellaneous expenses. The university needs an official statement from a bank, employer, sponsor, or other official affidavit of support.
School Records: These are transcripts or certificates of satisfactory study. Records should include an English translation of the subjects the student has studied and grades the student has made in each subject. It is very important to explain the grading system of each school attended.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): This is usually required for all international students except those whose native language is English. Information about this test can be found at U.S. Embassies, Consulates, offices of the United States Information Services, or at schools in your home country.
Aptitude Tests (SAT/ACT): These tests, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing’s (ACT) Assessment Program which measure verbal and mathematical ability are required for both international students and American students. If your school does not have information about these examinations, contact ACT Universal Testing at: 319-337-1448 Monday -Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm Central Standard Time or College Board SAT Program at: 609-771-7600 Monday -Friday 8:30am - 9:30pm Eastern Standard Time.
After you have been admitted and have submitted the financial certification information with bank statements, the university will send you a visa qualifying document. In most cases, you will be sent an I-20 Form which is used to get an F-l student visa. To get the visa, you will need to go to your nearest American Embassy or Consulate and show the following
Your Current Financial Certification
Because you may be asked to prove your financial resources, you should retain certified copies of the original financial information that you are sending to U. S. colleges when applying. If you already are in the United States, you will not need to get a new visa; you will receive a transfer, which will extend your time to the dates of the appropriate academic program. An I-20 will be sent for you to do your transfer.
National Collegiate Athletic Association
700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN 46206
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Headquarters
23500 W. 105th St.
P.O. Box 1325
Olathe, KS 66051
Phone (913) 791-0044
National Junior College Athletic Association
1755 Telstar Drive, Suite 103
Colorado Spring, Colorado 80920
2255 North Dubuque Rd.
P.O. Box 4044
Iowa City, IA 52243-4044
Customer Service Line: 877/262-1492 (8 am -5 pm CST) or 24-hr voice response: 877/861-3003