The transition from high school to college is a major upheaval for any young person. For most, it's the first time moving far away from home and learning to live for yourself. It's entirely up to you to come to classes, prepare for exams, eat right and do the laundry. Boring yes, but evolving! For student-athletes, this leap can feel even bigger.
To help you get ready for what to expect if you're going to be a student athlete at a college in the US, we bring you here 5 major differences between high school life and college.

1. Being a college athlete feels like more than just a full-time job

During the season itself, Division 1 and 2 athletes will dedicate an average of 50-60 hours per week to sports and study. In between early gym sessions, school lessons, training, study time and games, the weekly calendar of a student-athlete will be well and truly packed! While it's always rewarding to be outgoing and get to know the many other students, probably only your teammates and other student-athletes will understand what it's like to balance your college sports with the responsibilities that come with being a full-time student. It requires passion, choice, and an overview of your own time. That's just the way it is.

2. Your college team feels like your family!

Going to college or playing sports is a great way to make new friends. College sports take friendship and team spirit to a new level. Student-athletes spend just about every walking and sleeping second with their teammates. They live together, eat together, go to classes together, have study time together and train together. In many cases, they even vacation with their teammates and go on spring break trips together. ( That's awesome!) Your college teammates are so much more than your friends. They are your support system, they feel like family and they are the ones who make your College home far away from home

Toby Mccallum and Gabriel Christensen of the University of Memphis against Esteban Leiva (center) of Coastal Carolina University. Our clients often meet during the season!

3. College training sessions can be as intense as the matches themselves

The jump from high school and club sports to collegiate sports in the US can be big! Instead of competing and playing against your peers, you compete against and with 21-22 year old pure athletes. Players and athletes are bigger, faster and stronger than you are used to. There is an extreme focus on the physical aspect of being an athlete, so a lot of iron is lifted no matter what sport you play.

Some athletes react to the atmosphere with nerves, while others grow with the challenge and increase their intensity. It's all about how you react to the changes you will face. You may have been used to the fact that not all training has to be intense. That mistakes are part of the game. That concentration isn't always at its best. Granted, that's the way it is in the United States, too. But you don't have much to give for that. Athletes in the US fight tooth and nail for the chance to get a scholarship or improve their current one. Many American players and athletes would not necessarily be able to afford college had it not been for their sport. All are there because they have invested tons of time and energy into their sport. No one is going to give you their starting spot as an incoming freshman. You have to fight for it - and in the end, that's pretty awesome!

 

A little tour of the University of Tennessee facility.

4. Outdoor trips can take several hours.

Whether you're used to U19 league, divisional or series football, the maximum travel time to matches in Denmark and Scandinavia is 4-5 hours, and most opposition teams are less than an hour away. In College, your opponents will often be in other states and travel times can be 6+ hours and more. More often than not, you travel together on the team bus and thankfully it's great fun and often becomes a bit of an event in itself. The away trips mean missed school hours and weekends away from campus. You can use the time here to get homework done, etc. but that's entirely up to you.

Former FCK player and NSSA client, Alexander Hjælmhof in action for San Diego State University!

4. College athletes get tons of free gear and equipment!

How do you see who the student-athletes are when you walk around campus? You can be pretty sure they wear team jerseys, sweatpants and sneakers to most classes. The teams at the College are sponsored by everything from Nike to Adidasand Under Armour which means you get what you need from shoes, shirts, shorts and more.
In general, the upheaval is great, but as great a change your life will undergo, as great an evolution will you undergo. No matter how you're doing athletically - or academically, for that matter. We believe in that and that's why we facilitate the opportunity for College in the USA. Because it's a developmental environment spiced with experiences and memories you won't get anywhere else.


Read about a everyday life at college for a student-athlete right here! Or maybe a little about how college football works?

Feel free to contact us if you are thinking about going to college - or if you just have questions or want to have a chat about scholarships, sports and the USA.

Reach out to us here!

 

Thank you very much for reading
-The entire NSSA team

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  • August included new athletes being sent off, NSSA derbies, injuries and media day.

    Read more
  • We'll walk you through how a typical preseason for student athletes in college in the US works.

    Read more
  • Learn about the important differences between high school life and college in the US right here.

    Read more
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