31 May Support for Student-Athletes in the USA
There are plenty of questions that student-athletes will ask themselves when choosing the most suitable USA University to attend.
You could probably think of the obvious ones: Will I like the climate? Am I good enough? Will I improve in my sport? How much will my scholarship cover? Does the University have my preferred course? And the most common and understandable parent question…is the campus safe?
However, as the process unfolds and as student-athletes approach the pointy end (i.e., decision time!), invariably we will receive queries from parents regarding the various support systems in place for their sons or daughters.
‘My son is not the strongest student. What support will he get?’
‘What if my daughter is struggling to perform on the field?’
‘What support is in place if my son becomes homesick?’
Let’s answer these questions here:
From my experience first as a student-athlete and in recent decades in tracking the process of hundreds of Study & Play USA student-athletes, the one constant is that the support for academics is phenomenal. International student-athletes receive free tutoring regardless of whether they want it or need it. Each student is assigned an academic advisor whose job it is to ensure that student-athletes are on pace to graduate on time, are taking appropriate subjects to suit their in-season and off-season sporting commitments and more. Coaches can access each student-athlete’s academic results, attendance records and attend to any red flags. It truly is a fantastically elaborate education system that supports our student-athletes from day one to graduation.
It’s rare for any athlete, professional or amateur, to be able to perform to their best every day. Across a four-year period, our student-athletes are going to have bad days, disappointing weeks and even whole seasons of competition where they aren’t satisfied with their athletic results. In good news, it’s incredibly rare for scholarship to be reduced purely on disappointing performance. If poor performance is a result of tardy training habits or lack of effort, that’s a different story, and perfectly understandable. If student-athletes are struggling in their sport, or are having difficulty gelling with their coaches, there are staff members within the athletic department to turn to. If an athlete is injured, there are free rehab facilities on campus to help get them back on the court, in the pool or back out on the field. We are only a WhatsApp or Zoom call away to offer our advice too.
As aforementioned, bad days are inevitable in life. And when those bad days just happen to occur on the other side of the world without the normal refuge of the family kitchen table to work through them, it can pose a challenge for our young student-athletes. And here is where it’s vital to get a strong sense of the processes and support systems in place before choosing a university. As parents ourselves, this is perhaps our biggest focus when advising families how to choose the right college. It’s important to get a strong sense of what support your child will receive on campus when things don’t quite go according to plan.
Our experience tells us that international student-athletes are embraced and supported and their team members become family very quickly. It allows them to be able to turn to several different sources to help them through sticky situations. Sometimes our student-athletes want to talk to someone who has been there and done that as an international student-athlete. This is why our team at Study & Play USA view our role to be far more than simply ‘placing’ a student-athlete into a US University. It’s what happens at university that matters most. It’s all about embracing the wins, losses, celebrations and disappointments.