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Deciding on trying to get a sports scholarship to America is a very big but exciting decision. Once you have made the decision, there is a lot of work to do in order to set yourself up to be recruited by certain American Universities. However, if you are not careful, then there are a few recruitment traps that you may fall into if you are not well prepared.
First of all, leaving it to the last minute is definitely not the way to go. It is ideal to plan and talk to coaches at least a year in advance. If you are leaving it until the last six months before you want to go, then you are leaving yourself with limited options, and therefore it will be much harder to find a university fit for you. The actual fact of leaving it until last minute means that all the coaches from many of the universities would have recruited athletes already which leaves you with hardly any options. This is because many coaches like to recruit their student-athletes a year in advance, and in some cases, even two years in advance!
However, when you hear from coaches that are interested, don't rush into anything and don't just go with the first offer. Sure, if your first offer is incredible and to turn it down would be a huge mistake, then go ahead and take it. But, just don't think that your first offer will be your best offer. Wait a while and see what other offers you may receive, because otherwise you might miss out on a university that would be a perfect fit for you. The last thing you want to do is regret your decision once you have already signed a contract.
Another regret you may have is the regret of not doing the core courses needed to become eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Centre. When you are in high school, you will need to have completed a certain range of what the NCAA Eligibility Centre call “core courses”. These core courses are taken from a wide range of categories, and some courses must be taken for a certain length of time. You need to ensure that you are taking the core courses in order to become eligible for sports in an American University. This requires preparation and commitment through your high school career, so it is best to plan ahead.
Last but not least, remember that the most important purpose of you going to America in the first place is to gain a degree. It is first and foremost about academics, not athletics. Therefore, you need to have an academic mind-set when you are thinking about where you want to go, what you want to do, and who you want to become while you are in America. The sporting side of university is very competitive and fun, but you are there as a student-athlete, not an athlete-student. Therefore, when making your decision, you need to take into consideration all aspects of university opportunities and choose the right university that will provide you with the education and experience for your future career.
It is very easy to fall into these traps because there is a lot to think about. However, it is essential to be prepared in order to receive the best offers and opportunities suited to you. If you are aware of these recruitment traps, then you will be able to avoid them by preparing yourself for what will probably be, the most important decision of your life.
By Mika Deane