The million-dollar question!

How do you know if you’re ready to apply for a scholarship? It’s a very, very, popular question that comes up quite often. Obviously, I speak to a lot of mum’s and dad’s on a daily basis, and it’s one of the things that they want to try and understand before they even start the process. Well how do you know? How do you know when you’re ready and if you’re ready?

If you are sitting there and you’re waiting for a light bulb moment or you’re waiting to be ready to go to the US or you’re waiting for your child to say, “Yep, I’m ready.” You’ll probably never go, because at the end of the day it’s not about just jumping on a plane and going, there’s obviously so much more to it! And our job is not about putting athletes, students, performing artists onto the plane and sending them to the US.

Definitely not. I think, this is something, again that comes up a lot. As parents and as student athletes, when you’re even starting this process, you need to kind of separate the emotional feeling from the logical thinking.

“You have to separate Going, and getting an offer”

So, the logical thinking is, I’m going to start this and it’s going to provide an outcome and I’m going to jump on the plane and go. So what mum’s and dad’s are typically waiting for and what students are waiting for is that light bulb moment, where you suddenly say, “Yep, I’m ready to go” or “Now I want to go” or “this is what I want”

You must separate going from getting an offer. So, how do you know if you’re ready to apply for a scholarship? Well, the moment that you even think about it, that’s when you know you’re ready to apply. ‘How do you know if you’re ready to go’ is a completely different discussion.

You can’t decide you want to go to the US before even getting offers and opportunities to go to the US. And our job is to provide you with those options. So, then you can sit down and say, okay, I’ve got these opportunities … I might have some options here. Now I can say I’m ready to go, because you have those opportunities and offers in place.

That’s probably one of the reasons why a lot of students and parents contact us and say, “okay, we’ve started the process, but we’re not sure what’s happening now?” We don’t know when we’re ready to actually continue with the process or when we’re ready to go”. And that’s because you’re looking at it the wrong way.

“A good place to start is with your options”

For all of you that are going at this alone, the moment that you’ve started to apply for the process and apply for a scholarship, that’s you ready, which is fantastic.

I think a good place to start is with your options! Your options after high school. Obviously, you have plenty of different options after completing high school. You’ve got the popular ones where you take a gap year and that’s something that’s becoming more and more popular in Australia and in New Zealand.

There’s a lot of these stats that come out and state, ‘students who take a gap year end up doing better in University!’  And I think, just be mindful of where you’re reading all the stats from because sometimes they might be based on Contiki tours adverts as they do a specific stat around traveling abroad and then you’ve got university of Melbourne or University of Queensland will do their own stats but taking a gap year is one option that students have after high school.

Options after high school:

  1. Take a gap year – as mentioned above (Travel)
  2. Go straight into University here in Australia – start in February after Year 12 or obviously start TAFE, or an apprenticeship or something like that directly after year 12.
  3. Other

Option 4 – Apply for a sports scholarship, performing arts scholarship, or a visual arts scholarship!

You’re simply creating another option and opening another door way. It’s another door for your child to choose whether or not they want to pursue that pathway. Whichever pathway they take, whether it’s an apprenticeship or a gap year, or straight into uni or Contiki tour or …

Study abroad in the US. I think all parents out there know, you probably all agree with me here, that teenagers are teenagers, and you expect them to change their mind a million times.

So, you can’t expect your students and your children at 15, 16, and 17 years old to have a decision about the end result. What you can do is provide them with as many options as possible, and then when the time comes to choose one, allow them to make that decision.

“How it’s going to impact you”

If you’re a student or an athlete looking at heading over to the states, the first point of entry is August of the following year after graduating. So, if you are looking at taking a gap year, that’s eight months after you finish high school. If eight months isn’t enough of a gap year, then I’m not sure what is, but if you’re still not ready to go over in that window, you’re allowed to take off an extra few months – A full year and head over in January.

However, you need to be aware of a few things if you are looking at heading over in January. For example, if you are a soccer player, or a field hockey athlete, you’re going after the season finishes and if your sport is volley ball you’re also heading over after the season has ended. So, all the athletes, the guys and girls that are there already, already have that sort of relationship with the other athletes in the team, and you’re going in halfway through the year.

Another thing is that the schools and their budgets are going to be different, their recruiting needs are going to be different. So, the idea of starting later on is a possibility, but it is definitely something that you need to think about beforehand. How is that going to impact you?

When you are taking a gap year, if you’re looking at deferring, a further year, that always needs to be your personal choice. If you’re not ready to go over emotionally or mentally, then that’s completely fine, take an extra year if you’re not ready to go over because you want to save up a little bit more money. Perfectly fine!

“You’re not ready to go over”

What this means – You may not ready to go over but that doesn’t mean that you are not ready to apply. You need to head over to the U.S as early as possible, start the process as early as possible, that’s where you’re going to develop and improve rapidly (the US)…

If you’re waiting for that one special game, or one special meet or event, that you do here in Australia and New Zealand before you go, that day may never come. Right? So, the quicker you get over there, the quicker you can develop and become a better athlete and obviously get into the whole swing of things as quickly as you can. That moment ‘I’m not ready to apply for a sports scholarship because I’m not ready athletically’ is not a thing…

Not ready athletically doesn’t exist. Not ready to go emotionally, potentially. Not ready to go financially, potentially, but not ready to participate, or because I’m not fit enough, I’m not strong enough, well that’s the whole point of actually going, to get better.

And again, if you’re going at this alone, the decision of providing yourself with that option and, providing yourself with offers and opportunities, that needs to happen early. You can’t just decide to sit down and say, “okay, now I’ve finished Year 12 …Now I’m ready, now I want to get offers” because I guarantee you it’s probably not going to work for you.

“There’s no way I’m letting my child leave just yet”

In fact, I would go as far as saying, how do you know you’re ready to apply for a sports scholarship? the answer is, you apply when you’re actually not even ready to apply, not even ready to go. When your child’s too young for you to even think about letting them go. “There’s no way I’m letting my child leave just yet”. Great! Perfect time! That’s the…. You’re ready to apply stage! That’s when you need to start.

Students will always contact me towards the end of year 12. So, they come back from schoolies.  Mom and Dad say “hey, little Johnny, what are you going to do next year? You haven’t applied to uni? I’m not having you sitting at home doing nothing. I saw, you know, so and so’s daughter who’s in the US. Why don’t you do that?”

And little Johnny then says “great Mom. Yep… I’m ready, I’m ready to go” and contact me in January, and it’s “can you help me get over there in August?” Now I’m not saying it’s completely impossible, but your options become minimal and limits your chances of even getting an offer, as many students started the process well in advance.

But that example there is when a student has decided they’re ready to leave. Ready to go, and ready to apply, are two completely different things.

“A student who prepares themselves”

A student who prepares themselves in advance will receive greater opportunities, more options, and bigger scholarships, than somebody who decides I’m ready to go.  The reason for that isn’t necessarily ability, or grades, or academics. It’s timing.

A lot of the time, people will try and start this process when they’re ready to jump on the plane. And again, there’s a big difference between applying for scholarships and starting the whole process. It takes about 18 months to find an opportunity, even one opportunity that is suitable and in order to provide yourself with plenty of options and opportunities to choose from.

“Allow us to navigate the process quicker”

Going at it alone is completely different to allowing us to actually do it for you. And that’s because when we do it, the specific tips and tricks that we know, will allow us to navigate the process quicker.

If you’re going at it alone, if you haven’t done it yet, download the free 12 step guide that’s online on the website. Just go to

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