Should I finish college 2 years early?

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Professional conditions

What does a normal day as a "student athlete" look like?

A typical day for you as an athlete at an American university can look like this: Get up, depending on when your first lecture starts (sometimes it doesn't start until 12 noon). On some days you may end up with your team doing fitness training early in the morning. After the lectures you will have lunch in the "Dining Hall", for which you usually have up to an hour. Every afternoon your schedule will keep around 2 hours free for training.

The training is generally structured very professionally with conditioning training, possibly strength training and sport-specific coordination training (this can vary depending on the sport). Through professional training, many players can improve extremely and often reach a new level that also allows some to pursue a professional sports career after completing their college career. The training usually lasts 2 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week. You always have one day off a week.

You will then have dinner with your friends or teammates. Most of the time, the atmosphere in the “Dining Hall” is very special because only students come together here. Free time begins after dinner. You will either have to prepare yourself for the next day in the library, enjoy the evening program on campus, where there are always a lot of activities, or drive to the city with other students. Since everything is very centered on campus, you get to know new people very quickly.

What is the level of football in the college leagues?

The footballing level of the individual teams can be quite different. Particularly in the men's area, some teams can have a very high league to regional league level. You and your team could, however, meet weaker teams during the “conference games”. That always depends on the division and the conference in which you play. Strong NCAA II teams can, however, be stronger than weaker NCAA I teams. That always depends on how much a university invests in its football team.

How are the competitions going?

In most sports, official competitions only take place in one semester of the academic year. At the end of the competition semester, regional and national tournaments take place in which the respective champions are determined.

If you and your college team do successfully in the conference (approx. 10 teams per conference), you could qualify for the "Regional Championships" and then for the "National Championships". These are very popular and are often broadcast on TV. During the semester of the competition, you drive 1-2 times a week with the soccer team to other universities, often far away, to compete against them. In individual sports, for example, competitions usually take place every two weeks.

How are the leagues structured in the USA?

The NCAA I is the largest and, overall, the strongest division. However, there are also teams in the NAIA and NCAA II that can keep up with the NCAA I teams very well.

The level or the performance of the teams are not directly decisive whether a team plays in Division I or Division II. Things like the size of the universities or the number of sports on offer also determine which division a university plays in.

What does the abbreviation NCAA mean?

NCAA means National Collegiate Athletic Association and is an association that is responsible for the organization of the sports programs of colleges and universities in the USA. The NCAA is subordinate to three divisions - the NCAA I, NCAA II and the NCAA III. However, sports scholarships may only be awarded in the first two divisions. Eligibility to play must be requested from the NCAA. Academic requirements must be met in order to receive this.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a voluntary association through which many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada organize their sports programs. It comprises more than 1200 institutions, organizations and individuals who are committed to the interests and training of student athletes. The NCAA's headquarters are in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Due to the great popularity of the audience and the corresponding marketing by the media, university sport is far more important in the USA than in any other country in the world.

The NCAA reviews the eligibility of each athlete in the NCAA divisions. It grants the athletes a game license, so to speak, without which they are not allowed to compete in NCAA I or II. The factors that determine whether or not a player will receive this eligibility will be their SAT test scores and academic performance. In addition, the clearinghouse checks whether an athlete fulfills the "amateur status" according to the American standard. The registration fee is currently $ 120. The NCAA clearinghouse is the final authority for an athlete's eligibility to play.

What does the abbreviation NAIA mean?

NAIA means National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and is an association that currently has over 300 member universities and organizes and regulates their sport in twelve different sports.

How often do you train?

In preparation for the season, the so-called pre-season, you can train up to three times a day - even in the early hours of the morning. The coaches want to make sure that their and your team is well prepared physically for the exhausting season, which sometimes includes several games within a few days. During the season, which runs from August to December, there is usually daily training. In the fall semester, outside of the regular season, people also work in the weight room.

How is the season going?

Soccer is a so-called "fall sport" in the USA. This means that the fall semester season takes place between August and December. So the preparation for the season begins in July with very intensive training units. You then often train several times a day. There are also preparatory games. The conference games will start in August. The teams play against each other once. The home law changes annually. The winner of each conference qualifies for the national playoffs. There you and your team play in a knockout system against the other conference winners until the national champion is determined in the end.

What happens in the event of an injury? Is there professional medical help available?

Unfortunately, injuries are part of the life of a competitive athlete, but with good medical care you can largely prevent them or at least treat them professionally. Sports medicine research is more advanced in the United States than in any other country. Since the universities have very good financial resources, they can employ several physiotherapists and doctors who are available to the athletes every day. After all, it also makes no economic sense to invest so much money in athletes if they are not properly cared for in the event of injuries.

Is doping at universities in the USA?

The NCAA conducts thousands of unannounced doping tests every year. In the event of a doping case, the trainer would be banned for life and the entire team would be suspended. Since the trainers are usually employed full-time, a doping case in the team would be absolutely life-threatening for him. In addition, there are anti-doping officers at every university who try to prevent doping.

What are my chances of a professional football career after graduation?

Today's top athletes include many former college athletes. Some college football players are signed to the MLS and USL (the top two leagues in the US) each year. Some prominent examples of US college students who ended up in the professional field are Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Stuart Holden, Brad Friedel, David Weir, or Shaka Hislop. Maybe you can be next. The professional, daily training in particular is ideal for your career as a professional after college.

On the other hand, if something does not go as planned, e.g. a serious injury intervenes and you do not receive a professional contract, you have completed an excellent education and can look forward to a successful career in your area of ​​interest.

Academic opportunities

How can football be combined with studying?

The universities are very considerate of their athletes. As a footballer on the college team, you will be released from lessons as soon as training or games are on the program. This gives you, as an athlete, the chance to pursue your sport 100 percent. This is very important, especially in a team sport like football.

The material that is missed during this time should be worked on independently or in cooperation with a tutor from the university. The lecturers and fellow students are not annoyed if you miss classes due to sporting commitments. On the contrary: As an athlete, you enjoy an exceptional status within your university and are sometimes even admired by fellow students. Nevertheless, athletes must meet certain minimum academic requirements in order to be able to continue practicing their sport.

How can I combine study and sport?

In the USA, in contrast to German universities, the lecture schedules are tailored to the training and competitions, so that there are no conflicts between sport and studies for you. Many universities have special tutors for athletes who help with all academic matters and ensure that neither sport nor studies suffer from one another.

You certainly have to do a lot for good grades in the USA, too, but the targeted promotion of athletes usually works much better.

What can I study in the USA?

A sports scholarship does not limit your field of study in any way. That means you can study whatever you want. You matriculate at an institute of your choice like a regular student would and also enjoy the privileges as an athlete.

Most universities offer a very wide range of courses. An important part of our services is to help you choose the right university in order to ultimately find the university that best suits your wishes and interests.

Which subjects can I study?

A sports scholarship does not limit your choice of subject. In theory, you can study any subject. However, the university must also offer this subject. If the right subject is not there, an alternative can often be found. In the event that you do not yet have a specific study request, we will take care of it: We will advise you in detail about the various subjects, their teaching methods and future opportunities on the job market.

Are American universities even internationally recognized?

To answer your question, you can look at two of the most important global university rankings, which show that the best universities in the world are mainly to be found in the USA and are therefore also very internationally recognized.

Click here for the ranking.

Here you can also see that the German universities are unfortunately only rarely competitive internationally compared to the American universities.

So this is good news for you. Without grants, these institutes simply cannot be paid for. In addition, the university covers a large part or even all of your expenses and also offers you the perfect framework for your sport. At a university such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale or another top faculty, you naturally have the best chances on the job market after your studies.

Isn't it difficult to do the whole course in English?

This fear of a language that is not your mother tongue is understandable. As a rule, however, college students can speak really good English after 3 to 4 weeks, as they speak English all day long with the trainer, teammates and friends in a relaxed environment.

Even athletes who only had 6 points in the basic English course achieved very good grades in the first semester. In addition, the TOEFL test ensures that your English skills are good enough to successfully pass a degree in the USA. American colleges are very international and each course has students whose mother tongue is not English.

How do the German and American study systems differ?

In the United States, undergraduate schools are those colleges that can be attended immediately after graduating from high school. In addition to the high school diploma (or even international degrees, such as high school diploma or Matura), applicants are required to have certain minimum grades, good letters of recommendation, copies of written work and sometimes even admissions interviews.

The TOEFL and SAT tests are also common at almost all universities. As an undergraduate student, you broaden your intellectual horizons by studying subjects from all disciplines in the first year, regardless of your career aspirations. For example, students at four-year colleges only have to decide on a major after one year.

Can I start my studies in Germany and continue in the USA?

To be fair, we would like to point out the problems that can arise when you first study in Germany:

1. In the USA you are only allowed to start in the sports leagues until you have completed 8 full-time semesters, regardless of whether you are in Germany or the USA. Every semester that you study in Germany is deducted from this, so that you may lose the chance to finish your studies in the USA if your certificates from Germany are not recognized. If, on the other hand, you only want to do one year abroad in the USA or Canada, that is of course not a problem.

2. The older you are, the less attractive you are for the trainers, because they would like to build you up over 4 years. With each semester that you are less eligible to start, your coaches lose the opportunity to develop yourself further.

Will my academic achievements be accepted in Europe or anywhere else in the world?

In Europe, the American university system was largely adopted as a result of the Bologna reform. As a result, it is easier for students to transfer the so-called credits (unit of measure for academic performance) that have been developed at one university to another university. The American university system is generally considered to be one of the best in the world and a degree from an American university is accepted virtually everywhere.

See also this text from Spiegel Online:

“In the world league of universities, Germany lands in a respectable fourth place overall, as a new ranking by the University of Shanghai shows. The top 100 are clearly dominated by the USA, with German universities only playing a minor role there. "

Where will I live, sleep and eat?

Most students live in dormitories on the university campus in twin rooms. Many universities have special dormitories reserved for you for athletes. These offer you an even higher level of comfort. Every university has a so-called "Dining Hall" in which breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered as buffets; this can also be included in the sports scholarship. As an athlete, you not only get the best food here, but also save a lot of time because you don't have to shop or cook yourself.

When and how long are semester breaks in the US?

  • Summer break (summer vacation): beginning of May to mid-August
  • Winter break (winter holidays): mid-December to mid-January
  • Spring break (spring break): one week in March
  • Fallbreak (autumn break): one week in October

These vacations can be used for training camps or trips to the USA.

In which league should I play to have the chance of an athletic scholarship?

In order to have a chance of a football scholarship, you should at least have a good national league level in the men's area, better play in the association league or higher.

What are the requirements for studying in the US or Canada on an athletic scholarship?

In order to be eligible to start / play in the American college leagues, you must have completed a technical or high school diploma. If you are currently studying, it is possible to transfer credits that have already been earned.

In order to qualify for a sports scholarship, you have to pay attention to the special regulations regarding maximum age and the number of semesters already completed. In Division 1 there is a maximum age of 25 years. There is no maximum age in Division 2 and the NAIA.You can study a total of 8 full-time semesters in all leagues. For example, if you study 4 full-time semesters, whether in Germany or the USA, you still have 4 semesters available to start for a university. The NCAA reviews the eligibility of each individual athlete in the NCAA divisions. It grants the athletes a license, so to speak, without which they are not allowed to compete in NCAA I or II.

The factors that determine whether a player receives this player rating or not are his SAT and TOEFL test results as well as the grades of the school leaving certificate. In addition, the NCAA checks whether an athlete fulfills the "amateur status" according to their statutes. The NCAA clearinghouse is the final authority for an athlete's authorization to start.

How do we pay the fee?

You can conveniently pay the Scholarbook contribution and the final fee by transferring it to our account. If the scholarbook contribution is refunded, we will transfer the money back to it.

What costs that are not covered by the scholarship can we incur on site?

The university covers as much of the costs as possible. On the part of the competition authority for college sports, however, there are some requirements here. For example, the university is not allowed to pay for flights to and from the USA. There may be costs for school books on site, but many universities in the USA have the option of buying them used and reselling them at the end of the semester. Training camp and accommodation will be completely taken over by the university!

Private activities, such as cultural events, going out in the evening or museums, must of course be taken over by yourself. Even here you benefit from the still very cheap euro-dollar exchange rate. Pocket money of around 200 euros, corresponding to the child benefit, is recommended.

What is an athletic scholarship?

Sports scholarships are much more common in the US than in Europe. The United States doesn't have the kind of club culture that you know from Germany. The sport is usually pursued in high school and later in college. The universities are represented nationally by their sports teams. Therefore it is important to them to set up their teams in the best possible way. To this end, they offer athletic scholarships to good athletes to engage them in their team. These athletic scholarships waive the athlete's expense on tuition, campus accommodation, and meals - in some cases up to $ 50,000 per year.

Where do the funds for the scholarship come from?

Due to the great popularity of the audience and the extensive coverage by the media, university sport is far more important in the USA than in most other countries in the world. The income from television money and ticket proceeds ensures an excellent financial basis for the college teams. The television network CBS has already spent $ 10 trillion in television rights for basketball, football, soccer, golf, athletics, swimming or tennis from the NCAA. These funds are used, among other things, to award sports scholarships.

Why do universities give scholarships?

American universities have a long tradition of university sports. The teams of the universities are the figurehead and with the successes of the teams the university receives not only ticket and advertising revenues but also many new students.

For young Americans, the strength of the college teams plays a big role, as they cheer for the teams as fans. In this context, the sports teams also serve as a marketing tool for the universities to recruit new students. For this reason, the universities provide the trainers with budgets to promote talented athletes from home and abroad. The athletes can use it to (fully or partially) cover their tuition fees and living expenses.

How do I get a sports scholarship?

For athletes outside the US, it is difficult to get an athletic scholarship in the US without professional help and excellent contacts. There are numerous rules and regulations by the organizations that govern college sports to protect athletes. This quickly complicates the process. Vista Athletics provides talented athletes with the expertise and network to help them get great deals from the United States. We support you throughout the process. You can find the football requirements on our homepage.

How is the amount of a scholarship based?

A scholarship mainly depends on your athletic level. The trainer has a certain budget available each year, which he can distribute in his own way. Depending on how interested he is in you, he will make you an offer for, for example, 60 percent, 80 percent or even 100 percent of the costs. American universities also promote good school performance with academic scholarships that are awarded in addition to sports scholarships. These depend primarily on the SAT and TOEFL test results and the school grades.

What part of the costs does a scholarship cover?

That depends on your athletic and academic performance. Through our contacts with trainers and regular trips to the USA, your chances of a high scholarship are very good after a positive assessment of your chances. There are costs for tuition, food and living on campus and averages about $ 25,000 per year.

If a coach offers you a "full scholarship" (100 percent scholarship), this means for you that the university will pay you all of the costs mentioned. This depends on your level of performance within the team. The coach will offer you a percentage of these total costs, which is normally between 60 percent and 100 percent. A sports scholarship does not cover your personal costs, such as pocket money, flight money, excursions, etc. In the case of particularly strong athletes, books and insurance may also be included as part of the scholarship.

What period does a scholarship relate to?

At the beginning you will be guaranteed a sports scholarship for one year. After each year you can renegotiate with the coach and, if you perform well, increase the percentage of your sports scholarship. It is customary that once you have received an athletic scholarship, it is valid for four years. You can of course end it yourself at any time.

What are the obligations for the athlete from such a scholarship?

The athlete undertakes to practice the respective sport on behalf of the university and to represent it in competitions. This is accompanied by regular participation in training. Otherwise you have no financial obligations or other disadvantages.

What are the chances of receiving a full scholarship and what tasks do I have to fulfill to receive it?

First and foremost, the amount of the sports scholarship depends on your athletic performance. The better you are, the higher the chances of receiving a full scholarship. Since we carefully check in advance which athletes we are working with and always give a fair assessment of their chances, with a positive assessment you already have a very good chance of receiving a full scholarship. Even if you receive an 80 percent scholarship in the first year, for example, this can be increased to a full scholarship for you in the next year if you have good academic and sporting performance.

Can i lose my scholarship?

You cannot lose your scholarship due to poor performance or an injury. The coach knows that this is part of the sport and has to plan injuries and form lows. On the other hand, you can lose your scholarship if you cheat on a school exam, your grade point average falls below a minimum (around 4 on average), you are unfair in sports or do not follow college rules.

Are the flight costs included in the scholarship?

The universities would love to pay for flights to the athletes' homes, but the NCAA statutes do not allow you to do so. Flights to and from the competition venues, on the other hand, are borne by the university as well as other local travel expenses. Accommodation is usually in very nice hotels, as the travel budget is usually generous.

Where do the "student athletes" live?

If you received a sports scholarship, which exempts you from the cost of accommodation, you would live free of charge in one of the dormitories on campus. These dormitories are usually very well furnished and cannot be compared with those in Germany. Sometimes you can also live together in small shared apartments. There are also dormitories especially for international students. The cost of renting such a dormitory can easily exceed $ 1000 per month.

How can Vista Athletics help me?

College coaches are constantly looking for good athletes for their teams. Every semester they receive hundreds of applications from potential candidates from all over the world who dream of a sports scholarship. A coach needs very specific information so that he can even look at your application. Often the dream fails because of certain documents, e.g. incorrectly translated texts. Vista Athletics not only looks for and selects talents from Germany for the coaches, but we also help you to get the best offers. Our personal contact with coaches from universities across the United States is particularly important.

When do I have to apply for my passport?

The best thing to do is to order the passport immediately from your local citizens' office.

The processing takes about 8 weeks, the costs are 37.50 € and your passport will then be valid for 6 years.

In an emergency, you can also request an express passport. Issued within 72 hours at a price of € 69.50.

When do I have to apply for my visa?

You should apply for your visa at least 3-4 weeks before you travel. For this you need the I-20 document from your university, which will be issued to you as soon as you have been accepted at the university. However, it is better to apply for the visa much earlier in order to be able to look forward to any inquiries or waiting times without time pressure.

What is the best time to apply?

In the best case scenario, you apply at least one year before you want to start your studies. Since soccer is an autumn sport in the USA, you have the best chance of placement if you plan to start your studies in the USA in August. In order to be able to cope with all the necessary steps on the way to the scholarship in terms of time, you should ideally start the application process twelve months before you plan to start your studies.

In some cases, a placement will also be possible if you applied later. However, the earlier you apply, the higher the chances of getting a scholarship. The chances are also greatest immediately after graduating from high school or at the latest one to two years later, as you are only allowed to play in the NCAA for a total of four years and the coaches would like to work with their players for as long as possible.

How often and for how long can you come home as a scholarship holder?

The long vacations in which you can come home are:

  • Summer break (summer vacation) from early May to mid-August
  • Winter break (winter holidays) from mid-December to mid-January

In total, you will be at home for around 4 months a year. This is probably more time together than studying in a distant city in Germany. In addition, your parents or relatives can visit you during the year or during the spring break in March or the autumn break in October in the USA.

What if I don't like university?

Compared to other providers, at Vista Athletics your well-being is still important to us, even if you are placed as a completed "student athlete". We keep in touch with you throughout your stay and help you with a possibly desired change of subject as well as with the search for another university. Even before you leave, we try to ensure that you get a personal impression of the coaches and that you get along well beyond the sport.

In many cases, the universities also paid for the athletes to visit the USA or introduced themselves personally to Germany. You can also quit your studies and return to Germany at any time for personal reasons. The contract is only binding for the university.

What is the SAT test?

The Scholastic Aptitute Test (SAT) consists of a math and an English part (reading and writing). As a student, you must take this test at the beginning of the process. It is necessary so that you can register with the NCAA clearinghouse and apply to the universities.

The SAT test is one of the basic requirements for admission to an American university. It is standardized and tests the individual applicants' ability to study. It is also important for your eligibility to play at the NCAA, for which you must also meet academic requirements. With a good result in the SAT test, you can compensate for poorer Abitur grades. Further, more detailed information on the SAT test can be found in our soccerships guide, which you will receive immediately after signing the placement contract.

What is the TOEFL test?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a language test for students whose mother tongue is not English. Above all, the use of the English language in an academic environment is tested. It is required by almost all universities in English-speaking countries when a student applies.

How is the TOEFL test built in?

The test consists of four parts and takes about 4 hours.

How do I find the TOEFL code for my university?

The best thing to do is to look for the university's domain in the following document.
For example: Virginia Tech University search for

Click here for the document.

Which academic institutions will accept my TOEFL result?

More than 5000 academic institutions in more than 90 countries accept or require TOEFL results as evidence of academic English proficiency. This makes the TOEFL the most widely accepted academic English test in the world. A list of all institutions that accept TOEFL results (Score recipients or designated institutions) can be found on the international website.

Click here to go to the website.

Is it possible to take a practice test?

There are various ways of doing this:

1. The free online tour allows you to look at sample questions from all four parts of the test

2. You can download the TOEFL® iBT-Tips brochure free of charge

3. TOEFL® Practice Online also gives you a comprehensive opportunity to practice

This practice test offers a complete, authentic TOEFL test for all four language skills with numerous exercises to prepare yourself in a targeted manner and it enables you to predict your official results, as you will also receive results in the TOEFL Practice Online Test.

Do I have to take both tests or is one of the two tests sufficient?

Unfortunately, there is no way around completing both tests. Since you want to go to the USA as soon as possible and the trainers ask for it, we recommend that you check off the tests early. Then we can turn to the pleasant part of the job.

How much preparation time do I need for the test?

When preparing, of course, it depends on how intensively you prepare.

If you study 1 to 2 hours each day for the two tests, 6 weeks of preparation will likely be enough. If you spend an hour on the tests three times a week, you should prepare for two and a half months.

How many points should I get on the TOEFL or SAT?

You can prepare very well for the SAT and TOEFL and thus have a strong influence on your results. In total there are 2400 points to be achieved with the SAT and you should achieve at least half of them. In the TOEFL you should achieve 80 points, out of a maximum of 120. Of course, in both tests, the higher the better. A decent result will open the doors to you at many universities.

Do I have to state my future university when I register for the TOEFL?

You do not need to specify universities that you can already exclude. You can have the test result sent to up to three universities free of charge. We recommend that you have the result sent to your favorites. If you unexpectedly receive another great offer, it is still possible to send the result afterwards. In the first step, the coaches usually only ask whether you have taken and passed the test. If you do not yet know which university / college is suitable for you, they will send you an identification number of the university for the TOEFL and SAT test. This means that the ETS knows to which university it should send your score.

At the TOEFL I read that I really have to speak for the test. Do I then speak to a computer?

Yes, you will be sitting in front of a computer with a headset and microphone. The program will then ask you to speak in a monologue.Further information on the oral part can be found on the ETS website and in every TOEFL preparation book.

What do I have to take with me to the TOEFL or SAT?

You will definitely take the printed admission ticket with you to the TOEFL test. Your ID or passport is also important.

Is it also possible for secondary school students to study in the USA on a scholarship after completing a certain test?

There is the so-called GED, General Educational Development Test, which can be taken in Germany, for example, in the test centers in Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich. Unfortunately, the organization that is responsible for organizing college sports only allows athletes who have graduated from high school or high school in Germany. If you intend to do this after your secondary school diploma, we will be happy to help you find your dream scholarship in the USA.