By Marco Maisano






The process or securing a scholarship is not about getting an offer immediately. It’s about planning to get an offer, preparing in advance for it and learning about what you need to do to maximize your offers.

How can you PLAN in advance to ensure you maximise your offers? I’ve been told I need certain subjects? How can Planning my studies help me get more offers?

If I had to sum up the whole US Scholarship process for an international student in one word…. I would say PLAN.

Planning to do everything that you need to do to make sure that by the end of your year 12 year, you’ve done enough to warrant a US Scholarship offer. You know what they say…..

“Fail to prepare then prepare to Fail”

One key thing to prepare for in advance is your AcademicsHow in the world can you increase your opportunities or maximize your opportunities through preparing your academics in advance? What does that even mean?

You’re in control of your academics. You decide what you do and how well you do. Maybe you don’t always decide how well you do, but you decide how much effort that you put into being as good as you can be from the academic side.  Don’t do what I did in High School and only put effort in the classes you like for teachers that you like (Didn’t do it for Mr Jones as I didn’t like him at all! – I really hope he reads my blogs)

So, whether you’re an NSR athlete or not, it’s really the same deal. This is something that you need to think about and at least try and plan for the best that you can.

Each athletic division in the United States will have their own requirements and standards for incoming student athletes from the academic perspective.

If we are trying to maximise your chances through your academics, then you would try to remain eligible for every division

Quick disclaimer here……..Not saying you should stay eligible for every division or need to stay eligible, I am simply trying to make a point about creating options so please, no hate mail re the fact your school won’t let you pick science, or that you hate geography (I hated Business management when I was in High School but that was because I hated my teacher Mr. Jones)

Ok so now that is out of the way……….

To be eligible for every single division in every single institution is almost impossible.

But if that’s the goal and you want to be eligible for every single division, then chances are you’re going to try harder in school, you’re going to try harder to lift your grades. You’re going to study harder for the SAT or ACT exam and at the end of the day your GPA will be higher.

To be eligible for every division you would need certain subjects. Never, ever, ever will we at NSR ever recommend anybody to take classes that you don’t want to take.

I think that one of the biggest things that a lot of people derive about the U.S. system is, “Oh, if I don’t have these certain subjects, then I can’t go.”

Wrong. Wrong.

All you need is a high school certificate – That’s it…… and you’ll have options.

At bare minimum, all you need is to graduate from year 12, year 13 in New Zealand, or, in saying that we’ve had students that left school in year 11 and then they did what’s called a GED, that gave them the minimum required for entry into post-secondary course work in the United States and that’s something you can do as well.

But this blog is about maximizing your options, it’s about preparing your academics in advance.

So, to be eligible for every single division, you will need at least 16 core curriculum classes from years nine through 12, or nine through 13 if you’re in New Zealand

It can get confusing, but you can simplify it and say,

“Well, if I take English all four years, if I take math all four years of high school,” or five years if you’re from New Zealand … New Zealand, you have it a little bit easier than Australia, as you have an extra year of high school that they don’t count against you. You have five years to do 16 core classes, but four years of English, four years of Math, there’s eight already. So If you do four years of science, math needs to be algebra one or higher (tertiary level math) It doesn’t have to be math methods, the hardest math, it just needs to be counting towards tertiary entrance. If you do four years of a science, a specific science like biology or chemistry, physics, and you do four years of a social science; history, geography, economics, politics, sociology, psychology, those are all…..

If you do one of each, English, math, science, social science, All four years then that’s your 16!


Exactly. Other classes as well that count as core classes are religion, languages, fine languages.

Any foreign language that you take over the course of a full year, that’s a core class. You can mix and match. The important ones that you take all four years are English and math, Science and social science.

So, it can be broken up in all different ways as long as you look at taking English and math all the way through. The others can be made up. And again, this is to maximize your options. Let’s say that you don’t do that. You still have so many great options and it may not be an NCAA division one school right away, but that’s not to say that you can’t one day get into a NCAA division one school, it just means that you can’t start there.

There’s always a way to get to where you want to go, no matter what you do from an academic standpoint in high school. Are you going to go straight there? Maybe, depending on what you do in high school, maybe not, depending on what you do or don’t do in high school, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get ultimately to where you want to go.

And obviously you need to pass the classes (this doesn’t take into account athletic ability either)

So the main point that I am trying to make is that we at NSR will never, ever, ever tell someone, “Oh yeah, you need to take 16 core curriculum classes to have good opportunities.” And in the process of doing so, make someone take biology, which they hate for example, and something else that they don’t like and as a result they fail those classes and don’t pass them. If that happens, all your effort has been for nothing because they don’t count towards getting into anything and they also lower your GPA because you failed them, so you’re better off, no matter what, with just the standard year 12 graduation.

What I want you all to understand is that you still have over 1,000 options out there even without taking all the classes everyone (including google) tells you to.

At minimum, it’s passing high school, but then the more that you can add to that academic resume in terms of core classes and better grades and then adding the SAT, which is standardized exam or the ACT, any one of those.

Just because you are academically eligible for NCAA Division 1 does not mean you should apply for a division 1 program.

School and sport are 2 separate things. But for the purpose of this blog, I want to make a point about using academics to maximise your opportunities.

You also need to look at your cumulative GPA, and ensure you achieve higher grades in each one of those subjects in high school. Aim for that A!

And then after looking at your cumulative GPA, study for the SAT or the ACT, but let’s leave that for another blog, as I don’t want this blog to drag on…. Much like Mr Jones’ classes (He was my teacher 20 years ago for those that don’t read my blog often.

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