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6 Must-Do Steps for International Student-Athletes

The college experience helps us shape ourselves and our views of the world. It helps us become the people we want to be and develop skills valuable in our future career.

If you are an athlete, the opportunities are even greater. There are plenty of schools that offer both academic and athletic scholarships to international students. This is an opportunity not only to earn a college education, but to compete in the sport that you love.

Here are 6 must-do steps for international students when applying to college in the United states.

  1. Research information and resources

Once you have gathered a good amount of options and narrowed your options down, make sure to find resources about the admissions process. LRT Sports is a great resource to find accessible, digestible, and useful information. 

The admissions process differs for each college and university. Some might require essays or specific exams (SAT and/or TOEFL). Others might even require an interview as part of the admissions process. Get in touch with the admissions office of each school on your list to find out more information. 

Related: Internationals in the NCAA: Problems and Solutions

  1. Gather your required documents

Apart from admissions exams, the school will ask for other supporting documents. Some of the documents requested are:

  • Academic transcript in English
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL, SAT, or ACT scores)
  • Copy of passport
  • References
  • Proof of financial support
  1. English proficiency

In order to study college in the US, you must have a certain level of English proficiency to guarantee your success with your studies. If you do not know your English level, take the EF Standardized English Test, which is super quick and easy. 

The next step will be to sign up for one of the standardized tests. As a general rule, the most common exam score requested during the admissions process is the TOEFL (test of English as a Foreign Language). You will have to sign up at one of the testing centers in your country. Visit the TOEFL registration page to learn more. 

Related: 5 Culture Shock Tips for International Student-Athletes

  1. Eligibility Center

If you are planning to play college athletics, make sure you sign up for the NCAA Eligibility Center. They have their own set of policies and requirements when it comes to eligibility, so make sure you visit their website early. Also, do not hesitate to reach out to the athletics department at your school to help you through this process.

Related: Recruiting Must-Do’s: Division I Academic Requirements & Eligibility

  1. Submit the Applications 

Once you have fulfilled all of the requirements, it is time to fill out the application and send it in. It is important to note that there is usually a non-refundable application fee associated with this part of the process. The fee ranges anywhere from $40-$100 and is paid regardless of whether you are accepted into the school or not. 

Related: What to Expect as an International College Athlete

  1. Visa 

In order to enter the United States under a student visa, you will need to submit an application with the United States Embassy in your home country. In order to apply for a visa, your school has to send the proper documentation, called I-20. 

And there you have it: 6 must-do steps when applying for a college or university in the United States. It can seem time consuming and stressful at times, but if you take it one step at a time and give yourself enough time to start the process, it’s not too bad.


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