SPUSA 20 years


Are you one of many young Australian tennis players who wants to pursue a tennis career, but feel you need to choose between study and tennis?

Imagine returning from the USA aged 21 with a universally recognised degree behind you, having saved money over the four years by not paying HECS. Added to this, you received state-of-the-art training by specialised coaches to continue developing your tennis skills.

Interested? Then this is how our team at Study and Play USA can help you achieve your goals.

As Australia’s leading expert in US college sport scholarships, our team is here to help our talented young Australian tennis players realise their dream of a US college scholarship.

The college recruiting processes isn’t as simple as waiting at home for the coaches to call. You need to be noticed by the college coaches. Being proactive is key and this is where our team’s expertise comes in.

We will help you find the US college that is the best fit for you both athletically and academically.

We do this by taking advantage of our long term relationships with thousands of coaches and colleges, uploading training and competition footage, visa paperwork and more – we understand the eligibility criteria, including the Universal Tennis Ratings (UTR), and keep on top of any rule changes to ensure your application process is as smooth as possible.

Having our experienced team involved will also allow you to concentrate on the important things – your tennis skills and keeping your academic grades up.

Consider this:

At any given Grand Slam event in recent years, there were over 30 current or former US college players contesting the event. The average age of a men’s player in the ATP Top 100 is above 27 years old and the equivalent for women players is above 25 years.

These statistics tell us that on average it takes at least eight years after high school to have a chance of making it in the top 100 in the world. Then why not spend four of those years completing a US college qualification in a supportive environment while receiving state-of-the-art tennis training by specialised coaches?

Imagine what you could continue to achieve, after completing, at age 21, a US college qualification with four years of full-time tennis in a high-quality sporting environment behind you?

What is UTR?

UTR is a global tennis player rating system that rates all players on a single 16-point scale without regard to age, gender, nationality or location of a given match.

But until recently, UTR was not accessible in Australia. In our capacity as Australia’s leading US college scholarship recruiting agency, we know that US college coaches use UTR as their primary recruiting guide globally. Not having UTR accessibility put Australian kids off the recruiting radar. That’s why, in partnership with UTR creator Universal Tennis, our team at Study & Play USA pioneered UTR in Australia in 2016. Our team put level – based play on the tennis landscape down under and now all college eligible athletes have a UTR.

We’re also happy to report that in January this year (2019), Tennis Australia aligned strategically with Universal Tennis to grow tennis in Australia via level-based play, a hallmark of UTR’s success in several other countries, including for US college recruiting purposes.

US college tennis programs

There are just over 1200 college tennis programs across the US and although not all are equipped to offer full scholarships, we know how to access scholarship for all levels of players. The majority of programs split their scholarships in order to give money to as many good players as possible.

Every college sports program uses their scholarship funds differently. Depending on the popularity of individual sports and programs at a university, the university will choose to allocate their finances to the different sporting programs based on that popularity. Our team at Study & Play USA helps you find that right university and program for you.

Our network and contact abilities within the US college system helps us understand the different programs and coaches and how they tend to use their scholarship funds. This will help us plan out a successful recruiting game plan for you.

Our US college recruiting process

It’s important to start educating yourself about the US college recruiting process early. Our experience is that those who know about the process and plan for it early have better long-term outcomes.

Finding the right tennis scholarship comes down to finding schools that are right for you. This takes time. Discussion with you and your family is important. By having Study & Play USA involved in your application process, we’ll develop your profile and find the right university fit for you.

We do this by corresponding with the right programs, helping you with filling out forms (there are a lot more for international students) and putting together video highlights and portfolios. This all needs to be done, just as a start, when pursuing a US college sports scholarship.

This also gives US coaches the opportunity to scout you while we help manage the recruiting process. We can’t stress enough that early education on the recruiting process and starting early are important to help increase your opportunities when US colleges come calling. 

Once you have a coach who is interested in you and is from an institution that suits you, then we have to prove to them that you would be a valuable asset to their tennis team. This is not just about your abilities on the field. They will also need to see that you have good academic marks and a reputation for being a hard-working team player.

After that, it’s a process of completing the necessary eligibility and visa paperwork, finding suitable accommodation and getting you ready for your transition to life in the US.

Three associations that we work closely with are the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

NCAA Scholarships

There are approximately 960 teams listed in the ranks of NCAA tennis teams.

The NCAA regulates the scholarships that can be offered by participating colleges and teams. These regulations put a limit on the number of full scholarships that can be offered by any one college or university.

As we said earlier, many coaches prefer to split the allowed full scholarships into a larger number of partial scholarships. This strategy gives them the ability to attract more talent to their teams, and to broaden their pool of possible players. Coaches will make these determinations depending on the team’s current needs, and strategies will change from year to year.

NAIA and NJCAA tennis scholarships

Students looking outside the NCAA can find further scholarship opportunities for talented young tennis players with the NAIA (122 teams) and the NJCAA (85 teams).

The NAIA, while a smaller athletic association than the NCAA, offers many highly competitive scholarships across all types of college athletics – including tennis. Of the 122 NAIA colleges that offer scholarships for tennis players most, but not all, are partial tuition scholarships.

About Study & Play USA

Study & Play USA is Australia’s leading expert in US university sport scholarships. We have over 15 years’ experience helping Australian student athletes choose their life journey. We’re not here to convince you to take this pathway. Rather, our priority is to inform and educate each individual family. We’ll sit down with you and your family to provide you with customised and personal advice relevant to you and your goals and dreams.

If you’re thinking about pursuing a university experience in the US through your sport of choice, email Study & Play USA or get in touch via our Getting Started portal. You can also, read what some of our scholarship recipients have said about our assistance.

For further information on how the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) works for college recruiting and how to best maximise your UTR, talk to our team on 07 3103 3083

 or send us an email and we will get back to you.

DOWNLOAD a free chapter


An Aussie's Transformative
US College Journey

By Study & Play Director, Chris Bates