Playing and Studying in the USA

The Basics:  What You Need to Know

In the USA, the best women volleyball players at ages 18 to 25 play on university teams, not club teams.  Each university has a volleyball team, and the players are students there.  Universities also have teams in other sports, and players on all teams are student-athletes.  They work on their studies while also training and competing as athletes.  Volleyball players from around the world are welcome to be student-athletes in the USA.

Each student-athlete goes to classes, works on her studies, trains with her team, and competes against other teams.  Competition includes much travel.  Some teams travel across the USA, flying often.  Other teams travel in smaller regions, mainly by bus.

Most student-athletes are not paid extra money to play volleyball.  But, with an athletic scholarship, your major living expenses will be paid by your university.  The school will pay for your housing, food, books, and volleyball expenses — including all your travel, training clothes, uniforms, equipment, and medical care.

Your Studies

Student-athletes attend classes and study in the same way as all students.  You’ll be busy, but teachers and coaches will help you succeed.  Teachers understand you have responsibilities as a volleyball player, and coaches understand you have responsibilities as a student.  At most universities, advisors and tutors will help you with your studies.

How Long Will You Stay in the USA?

It’s your choice!  Your scholarship may extend a maximum of five years.  You may play in official matches for only four years, but at some schools you may study and train for one extra year.  Of course, you may end your scholarship and return to your home at any time.

If you already are a university student now, read the next paragraph about “Age and Education Requirements.”

Age and Education Requirements

You must finish high school in your home country before you enter an American university or college.  If you never have been a university student, you may go to the USA for a complete university education, from start to finish.  Your scholarship may extend up to five years, but the number of years is your choice.  You may end your scholarship at any time.

If you have studied at a university in your home country for less than four years, you may go to the USA to play volleyball and finish your studies.  The amount of time you stay in the USA will depend on the number of years you have attended your first university.

Your Expenses

With a volleyball scholarship, you will live comfortably and have few major expenses.  Your school will pay for your housing, food, books and volleyball costs.  You’ll get extra sport clothes, shoes, and travel bags.

But student-athletes must pay for some expenses:

• The biggest expense for most student-athletes is airline travel between their homes and the USA.  See Housing, Food & Travel for details.

• Most students must take one or two examinations to qualify for an athletic scholarship.  See Required Exams for details.  Your cost for these exams can be from zero to $300.

• Some universities will require you to pay $40-$80 to register as a student.

• To receive your visa to the USA, you must pay a government SEVIS fee (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).  In most countries, the fee is between $100 and $200.

• All student-athletes must register with the NCAA, NAIA, or NJCAA to receive a scholarship at a university or junior college.  The cost is between $85 and $120.

• Some universities do not pay for medical insurance.  It can be expensive.  Ask coaches about it when they recruit you!

• Most student-athletes must pay for their personal expenses, such as cosmetics, telephone and non-volleyball clothes.  But some universities give student-athletes extra money for all these expenses.  Remember to ask coaches about it!

• Always ask coaches two important questions:  “What will my scholarship not pay for?  What expenses will I need to pay for myself?”