By Marco Maisano






It’s always tricky when you try to help a young athlete from Australia understand how they can compare their ability, or their skills as an athlete and scale it to the American collegiate system.

Where do you fit? or where will you fit in your first year as a freshman? Where do you actually fit?

(Not considering academic ability, eligibility or costs) This is an important question and one that you should definitely understand prior to starting your college search.

This blog is about sports where you receive a specific result. Sports like golf, track and field, swimming.  I will save opinion sports (basketball, hockey and soccer) for another article. Like Mr Jones once said to me (my ex high school teacher who made me despise high school) “Opinions are like eyeballs, everyone has one!” I had my opinion about him too and let me just say it was not positive.


Ask yourself these questions? … Where are you now with your sport? What level will you be at the year before you go over? And where will you fit when it comes time to depart for the US?

Results based sports are black and white. You’re either hitting the times, or you’re not. Or you’re hitting the marks, or you’re not. Mum and dad can’t lie here. The beauty about these sports is that your opinion of yourself, or your coach’s opinion, or your families opinion, does not count.

Swimming, track and field. Even golf to an extent. You’ll be shooting certain scores. You either are, or you’re not!

Most college coaches will have, specific times, particular scores, qualifying results, that need to be met in order to be recruited on to their team or athletic program.

We regularly get coaches call in the office and say things like, “Well, if they’re in their junior year (so year 11) they should be hitting this time. If they’re in their senior year (Year 12) they should be hitting this time. These are the times they’ll need to be getting if they want a scholarship. This is time they’ll take if they want to be a walk-on.” A walk on is somebody that will come on the team with no scholarship.

You could have the weirdest running start in the world, but if you’re running a 10-second 100, I’m sure there’s probably going to be some coaches who are going to be chasing you.

Some college coaches have different criteria for different awards too. For e.g.: if you’re hitting, for the 100 meters, in swimming, or on the track, so say if you’re hitting sub-11 seconds, you get 50% Scholarship. Sub-10.5, you get 75%. Close to 10, 100%. Same with swimming.  (These percentages are not exact it’s just an example. Please do not flood my inbox with complaints when DUKE doesn’t give you a 50 percent scholarship)

With golf, it’s quite similar. You can have a swing like Jim Furyk. I’ve always said Jim Furyk could probably hit a ball inside a phone booth. The weirdest swing ever. But, the guy is a great golfer.

If you’re a year 11 student and, you’re playing off a handicap of five, that’s good for your age, well done!

You still have essentially two years before you’re looking to head over. And coaches will take that into account. And then they will use the next 12 months to see how you progress.

If that “five” by the end of your year 11 year becomes a three, and then through your year 12 year becomes, a one or scratch, and then by the time that you’ve finished high school and you’re looking to head over, you’re playing off, plus one, plus two, potentially plus three handicap….well then you’re going to open up your options quite a bit.

If you’re playing off a five in year 11 and by the time that you finish year 12, you’re only playing off a four, then you can’t think of it in the same way.

It’s probably something that we hear a lot here at NSR. We hear things like “I’ve got this score, but I don’t actually train enough because high school is so stressful. So, if I trained more, I would get this score”. Well, that’s good in theory……but not good enough sorry! (Your opinion does not count remember)

Coaches aren’t really interested in a student that says. “I’m playing off a three handicap, but in 12 months’ time, I’ll be a plus one.” A coach simply says……Well, but you’re not a plus one.”

Coaches need to see the results before they’re going to make an official commitment.

Coaches want to see the result that the student is getting at that specific time. They definitely want to see the progression too. You can’t just contact a college coach when you are ready! It will be too late then! Contact him ASAP (regardless of how young you are reading this article…ok, slight exaggeration, if you are in Year 9 then definitely start!

Remember, as an international student you need to show MORE than the American student, otherwise what’s the point?

Let’s say that you’re a parent reading this article and you wanted to plan. Your child’s in year 11 and he’s playing off 10. What schools should they target?

In this case, let’s use golf as an example. Let’s say he/she is playing off a handicap of around two, which is pretty good. In terms of research, find schools where you then can actually fit in with that handicap NOW, because in the space of a few months, chances are you’re not going to decrease that handicap by too much.

At that age, research and find schools where you fit at that present time. You need to be realistic, this is where a third party like NSR can come in handy.

To be realistic, you need to look through rosters and the athletes that are on that roster.

Are there international athletes?

What are their handicaps?

What was their handicap when they were freshmen heading into college?

Just a few questions you need to ask yourself before you send that first email that says

“Dear Coach, please recruit me!”

If you are an athlete in year 10 or below CLICK HERE to get your FREE Online website/Profile