Wanna get a scholarship in college in the US?

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Sep 14, 2005

Wanna get a scholarship in college in the US?

Many good swimmers overseas want to come swim in the US, but end up staying at home due to lack of monetary resources. Believe me, there is money available for every swimmer that has competed outside US and wants to pursue his/hers swimming career at a university/college in America. I will try to outline what you need to do in order to get a piece of the scholarship pot. However, if you are not up to the task and you'd like someone else to do the legwork, read the next post regarding more detailed information about professional help on obtaining scholarships in USA.

There are divisions (leagues) of college swimming in the US. NCAA Division I (DI) is for the toughest swimmers out there. To get a good scholarship money, you will need to be at least on the European Championship level with your swimming. However, there are exceptions. NCAA Division II (DII) is a little slower, but the competition is still good. Then there is NCAA Division III (DIII), if you want to receive a scholarship for swimming, stay away from that division, cause they do not provide athletic aid. However, they do have pretty good academic packages most of the time. Then there is NAIA, mostly composed of small private schools. The top swimmers on the national level would do real well in DII, but the depth of competition is lacking. Lastly, there is a 2 year college program NJCAA which has one of the best swimming out there, but is slowly falling behind in the of school participating. After completing 2 years at this college, you will need to transfer to other 4 year college where you will finish your last 2 years (an extra hassle).

The Search:
Well, you ask yourself. Where do I fit in? That is where you will have to do some research. The best place to start is the Swimming Index or the College Swimming site. There you can find the list of colleges and believe me, there is a lot of them. Make sure to visit the college's site and check out the swim team records, best times, rosters, also do not forget about the academic major you'd like to study (e.g. Biology).

The Letter:
Once you have a few of these schools picked out, it is time to write a letter to the coach
- introducing yourself
- your best times
- accomplishements
- why are you interested
- why would you be a good fit for the team
- what would you like to study

Remember, do not be pushy. It is a two way street. First, get to know the coach, then start talking money. You wouldn't believe how many recruiting letters do some of the coaches get. It is insane and some of them even start with something like  'Coach, I'd like to earn a scholarship at your school'. That is nice, but not what catches the eye. The letter is very much like your resume. It is the first impression you will make on the coach.

The tests:
If you have a communication with the coach going and there is a possibility of a scholarship, it is time to think of the university admission process. What tests to take, when is the deadline etc. Usually, US universities require TOEFL, SAT or ACT (sometime both). Also, probably translations of your transcripts and other school documents.

After you are admitted, it is just the question of how to pay for the school. Hopefully, by now you have had a promised amount from the coach, so you should know how much to expect to pay. If you do have to pay a few bucks, remember, there is always an opportunity to earn some extra cash on campus, but it is usually not much.

Final words of wisdom, if you look hard enough, you will find the school that will financially support you in your swimming endeavors. If you would like to get professional help from recruiters, you can read the following detailed information on scholarships. Good luck and keep swimmin'.
Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.

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