A lot of Asian athletes struggle with maintaining a balance between sports and academics. What with early morning training sessions, late-night assignment deadlines, and traveling for tournaments, it is really hard to maintain focus and composure. Universities in the US offer athletes an opportunity to maintain that balance while progressing to ‘student-athletes.’ Many such student-athletes have turned professional after college; many have had successful careers outside of sports. Given the support from globally ranked Tertiary educational institutions for athletes and athletics, it is not surprising that a lot of athletes across the globe flock to US Universities.
Division of college sports
US Universities offer a total of 24 sports like basketball, football, soccer, tennis, swimming and diving, baseball, lacrosse, and many more. These college sports are governed by four bodies – the NCAA ( National Collegiate Athletic Association), NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), and NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association). The NCAA consists of over 1000 Universities divided across 3 divisions. Division I Universities provide the highest levels of athletic funding to their sports teams and are home to the best sports teams. Universities in Division II and Division III have comparatively smaller levels of funding for their athletic teams. But this reflection of the athletic ability of Division II or Division III teams. All divisions offer extremely high student-athlete experiences and a great balance between academics and athletics.
While some of the globally acclaimed Universities are a part of the NCAA Division 1 ( the Ivies, Stanford etc), you will be surprised to hear that some of the great names are Division 3 schools such as Carnegie Mellon U, MIT or U Chicago. However, you will find that a greater percentage of athletes who participate in NCAA Division 1 sports turn professional at the end of their college careers.
The student-athlete experience
The student-athletes who get recruited to these universities not only compete at the highest levels but also maintain a good balance between sports and academics. Therefore, getting recruited to these universities does take a lot of preparation and effort. Every student-athlete is unique. It is therefore critical to find the right fit in terms of academic and athletic level and as well as geographical preference for each prospective student-athlete.
Thankfully, the US-universities landscape offers such a wide array of options for sports and academic course choices, that international student-athletes, if guided correctly, will find the right fit to excel both athletically and academically.
All things considered, college sports in the US offer a wholesome support system for budding athletes with the right kind of facilities and environment for them to become the best version of themselves.
-Sharlee Deshmukh, Lead Counselor