Number four is a no-brainer!
For most Australian students, high school graduation is typically followed by either entering the work force or pursuing higher education domestically. As student-athletes, the opportunity to unite both sport and education at a high level is near impossible in Australia or New Zealand.
There is only one country in which both a high-class education and elite sport are given equal opportunity and respect. Going to college in the United States as a student-athlete is like no other experience anywhere else in the world.
Going to college in the US as a student-athlete is a viable pathway to use your passion for sport as a vehicle to develop a future underpinned by a world class education.
There are many benefits that the US collegiate system offers for an international student-athlete, here are the top five areas of a student-athlete’s life that will benefit from choosing the US college pathway.
1. Playing sport on the world stage!
‘Many Olympic medallists spend their peak development years in college sports. In 2012, current and former college athletes provided the bulk of the USA’s gold medallists in swimming, track and field, rowing, basketball, women’s water polo and women’s soccer.’ – the Guardian
If you thought sport was the number one endorsement for the Australian culture and way of life, you haven’t seen anything yet! It can’t be denied that Australian sport is extremely popular and nationally treasured, but it is supported mostly at the professional level. Granted, America does have a much larger population than Australia, but the turnout and support that can be expected at college sport level is out of this world. It will be like nothing you have ever experienced before and you will be mind-blown by the passion and atmosphere of both the players and the crowds at every college sporting event.
There is nowhere else in the world that you can unite, balance and successfully maintain full-time study and athletic programs while having access to elite training facilities, coaching and physical development/recovery resources.
A high proportion of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro US Olympic team are, in fact, ex college athletes, making the future opportunities endless for student-athletes in the US, international or not.
2. We were born to travel!
‘For most students, this time may be the only opportunity they ever get to travel abroad for a long period of time. Eventually you will find a job and career, and the opportunity to study abroad may turn out to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
‘Take this opportunity to travel the world with no commitments but to study and learn about new cultures. Studying abroad is an experience unlike any other.’ – International Student.
Taking the passion for sport and education overseas will satisfy both of these pathways for those eager high school graduates stuck between their value of a degree and a burning desire to see the world.
Studying abroad is one of the most rewarding experiences a young person can have and the US collegiate pathway encourages a combination of sport, education and travel in one perfect setting. There’s no need to make the stressful decision to prioritise one over the other when this pathway offers both at no burden to the other.
The personal growth that will incur as a young student-athlete living away from home for the first time and pursing highly-rewarding goals is certain to appeal to future employers who value worldly experience among their desirable employee attributes.
Student holidays over Christmas time and between semesters also allows ample opportunity for travel and broadening your horizons as a young person.
3. Underpinned by a world class degree!
‘International students who choose to study in the US have almost unlimited choices. International students who successfully complete their degrees in the USA are highly sought-after by employers worldwide. The United States is the premiere destination for international students from all over the world.’ – Edmerica
First and foremost, education is the most important part of this equation. Studies have shown the higher the qualification a student has, the higher the potential income and the lower the unemployment rate overall. Gone are the days where entering the workforce after high school guaranteed employment. These days, having a tertiary qualification is often considered a minimum requirement for most accomplished employment opportunities.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the passion US college students have for their sporting teams means that they place lesser value on their education. In fact, a US college degree is held in the highest esteem around the world. It’s considered a globally-recognised, prestigious qualification to have.
A US education can also be very appealing to future employers, particularly as a student-athlete, as you have proven your ability to prioritise, balance work, study and leisure, maintain high grades and athletic performances and build independence.
85% of NSR’s student-athletes graduate with a globally-recognised degree after four years of study in a US college.
4. Future investment
‘Whatever your destination, college can help you get there — even if you don’t know where “there” is yet. Whether you’ve mapped out a long-term plan or you see new possibilities every day, college can help you become your future self.’ – Big future, College Board
Studies have shown that the higher qualification obtained by a student, the higher the potential for future income and the lower the rate of unemployment. Opportunities like these can be a solid building block for a young person’s future.
Whether student-athletes decide to pursue a future in the professional sporting world or in the workforce, the value of having this kind of experience is immeasurable. Having made the decision to follow this pathway speaks volumes about your personal character and drive and there is nothing about following this experience that could hinder your future opportunities. If anything, following this pathway puts you ahead of the pack trying to forge a future for themselves.
This experience will allow you to develop a close personal connection with your coaches and professors. You’ll have these prominent people in your life as future resources and references to vouch for you.
Future employers will value the positive words these people have to say about you. Your pathway will be considered an extremely appealing background, making you a prime candidate for employment.
5. Be the best you can be!
‘Making the acquaintance of people with diverse histories gives you a broader world view, cultural understanding, and sophistication. At college, you’ll surround yourself with people who can share a multitude of backgrounds, cultures and experiences.’ – college view
There’s no doubt that this experience will be invaluable for student-athletes and their families, with personal growth just one of the rewards gained from following this pathway. Students will make lifelong friends and memories while developing personal attributes such as independence, persistence and social skills that will support all future endeavours.
The life experience gained from this journey is something that simply staying in Australia, living at home and attending university cannot fulfil. Whether it is visibly noticeable or not, student-athletes will become more confident and mature as a result of making the decision to follow an international pathway to the future.
These are a few reasons why going to college in the US and discovering this future opportunity is extremely valuable. How many more can you think of?