Imagine going to college in the US as an Australian student.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re picturing crazy sorority houses, red cup beer pong and spontaneous A Capella parties.

While all of these things exist at US college, the reality is that there are an abundance of great things about going to college in the US that can be hugely valuable for international students. US college can be beneficial specifically for Australian students, as the college experience in America is incomparable to the Australian University lifestyle and structure.

It’s easy to create your own assumptions about college in the US, but without knowing the reasons why Australian students choose the US college pathway and how it benefits them, it’s difficult to fully comprehend what it’s all about.

I could think of 50 reasons to go to college in the USA as an Australian or New Zealand student, but I narrowed them down to 10 for easier digestion.

You’re welcome.

1. Use education as a reason to travel 

The majority of young people see travel in their future at some point, but most consider it a pre or post-University plan. By choosing to go to college in the USA, Australian students are taking up the chance to broaden their horizons beyond the isolated island that is the land down under.

The great part about traveling to the US as an Australian student is that they are going for education purposes and not sacrificing progress in future development for the sake of travel.

It’s a pathway that compliments both a passion for travel with a focus on education.

Go to college in the USA, and you will become a well traveled, educated young member of society.

2. Avoid sacrificing sport for study

It’s no secret that Australian’s love sport, and most young people identify (reluctantly) the importance of education.

While most would love nothing more than the chance to purely follow their sport as a viable future direction, they understand the reality of this being attainable.

Choosing to go to college in the US incorporates sport with education in one program and affords young students the privilege of playing elite sport while balancing studying towards a world-class, valuable degree.

3. Get out of your comfort zone

It would be easy to finish high school, go to University, and then work in that field of study. For some, that is perfectly satisfying.

For others, pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone is the only way to move forward in life.

Australian students that go to college in the US as student-athletes are taking a huge leap of faith. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, there’s no bigger way to get out of a routine or monotonous lifestyle than to throw all inhibitions to the wind and follow a completely unique pathway overseas.

An inspiring figure once said to me on the back of making a big life change; “I’m too comfortable here. I’ve achieved everything I wanted to achieve and now I need to make a change. If I’m not uncomfortable, I don’t grow.”

That will stick with me for a long time, and it’s something that should be considered when looking at a future pathway.

Stability is overrated…

For a young, inexperienced person, there’s no better time to push yourself outside of a comfort zone than in those post-high school years.

4. US college academic system is built for success

While the Australian tertiary education system produces some well-educated, successful people, it can also fall victim to a lot of drop-outs, as suggested in this article.

In the US, particularly for student-athletes, academic strategies are largely supported and co-developed between coaches and professors, making studies extremely manageable.

With smaller class sizes, full-time tutoring, study halls and preferred class arrangements, US college students are set up for success. In my opinion, the US higher education system is also better arranged in terms of the structure of studies.

Students are graded based on assessments that are spread out through the semester and have similar weighting, while in Australia, the majority of a course mark comes from one or two large assessments, increasing stress for students.

Current NSR student-athletes have supported this exact idea, and many have found themselves going from average academic results in Australia, to boasting a GPA average of 3 and above in the US.

One such athlete is Antonio Rosina at Montreat College in North Carolina. Check out Antonio’s story here.

5. Perks of being a student-athlete 

Students that choose to follow a higher education route in Australia are placed in classes with hundreds of students and often miss out on the chance to interact independently with their teachers.

Student-athletes in college in the US are treated like celebrities. They are provided with incredible new training/game gear, given the chance to select classes before other students to balance their schedules, taken on fun team travel adventures for away games and more.

The best part about being a US college student-athlete however, is the leadership and respect that comes with the title.

US college head soccer coach at Medaille College, Mickey Blythe supports this idea.

“Student-athletes are the leaders of campus, they’re the ones on the website, they’re the ones in the classroom representing the college. They really are looked up to in the American college society. “

6. Appeal to future employers

One of the most beneficial parts of choosing to follow the US college student pathway as an Australian is the long term value in the workforce.

Future employers will hold the international student-athlete title in high regard, as they possess many attributes an employer looks for, including determination, ability to overcome challenges, ability to work in a team and excellent communication skills.

This great article by Fast Company, points out why future employers value college student-athletes as the highest performing employees.

7. US college pathway is a tool for self-discovery and development

Similar to what I mentioned in point 3, the US college pathway for an Australian student pushes them outside of their comfort zone.

It also sends a young person on a journey of self-discovery and development.

There’s no quicker way to grow than to venture overseas alone with no expectations, but with goals in mind.

Interacting with people from unique cultures, forging your own path, and building life skills are key in a young person’s development.

Taking the opportunity to enter the US collegiate system as a student-athlete will teach a young person valuable life skills and test their character in ways that domestic academic pathways can only try to match.

8. Americans love the Australian sporting passion and positive attitude

Australian NSR athletes that have headed over to the US all say one thing about their American teammates and classmates; they’re all super friendly.

American colleges value their international athletes highly and welcome them to campus with open arms. It’s no new development that for Americans, Australians have funny accents, strange national animals and wacky traditions.

In this sense, Australian students who follow the US college pathway are embraced and supported by their American counterparts.

9. Embrace an opportunity like no other

The opportunity to combine a passion for sport with the ability to earn a globally-recognised degree isn’t as easily attainable in Australia as it is if you embrace the opportunity to go to college in the USA.

Going to college in the US as an international student-athlete is arguably the most well-rounded opportunity a young person can obtain.

A key reason to attend college in the US for an Australian student is the encouragement in the US of a pathway that satisfies two diverse future opportunities in one.

Not only does it appeal to students to attain this pathway, but parents of young passionate sporting talents have their concerns alleviated by the dedication to education.

10. Build international connections

Coaches, professors and anyone that student-athletes meet in their college experience become a potential future connection. With a four year experience behind them, Australian students at college in the US are bound to build up an extended network of contacts across a variety of areas.

Whether it be simply for social and travel opportunities or whether they develop valuable networking connections with potential future employers or sporting contacts, Australian students in the US build themselves a continuous supply of resources and opportunities in the US through this pathway.

High School students in Australia often commit themselves to University with no real interest in a particular educational pathway and find themselves uninspired by the direction their life is taking. College in the US provides a unique opportunity for Australian students to continue a passion for sport while being given time to navigate their academic interests. The US collegiate pathway could be the perfect opportunity for you to explore following High School.

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