Student taking ACT/SAT test

ACT AND SAT – U.S. COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS

I usually say to students that contacting college coaches, finding a sports scholarship and committing to a university is only the beginning of the recruitment process.

Even after you have signed your offer, there is a lot more work that needs to be done, and it is the work that will determine the success of your recruitment process. Most importantly, it will be up to you.

The entrance exams are an extremely crucial part of your recruiting process. The scores you achieve in the tests will be used for both your playing eligibility and your admission process requirements.

In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the ACT and the SATs.

Entrance Exams for Admission, Eligibility and Scholarships

Your test scores, as mentioned above, will tell the leagues and the universities if you meet the minimum academic requirements to become a student-athlete. Additionally, depending on your scores, you may be eligible to be awarded academic scholarships.

Admission

For the admission process, universities will look at your GPA (Grade Point Average) and your test scores to determine the success of your application. What’s important to know here is that even if you’re offered a sports scholarship from the coach, it doesn’t mean you’re accepted in the university already.

You will need to show the university that you meet their evaluation criteria by providing your transcripts with your final GPA and sending them your test scores.

Eligibility

Eligibility is a topic that will have itself a blog post to talk about it for its complexity. For now, let’s just give you an overview of how the test scores apply to it.

NAIA has three criteria points to determine your eligibility: GPA, test scores, and rank in the top half of your graduating class. You need to meet two out of three to be eligible.

NCAA uses your GPA on the core courses and your test scores to determine eligibility. They will be combined and compared accordingly with the NCAA sliding scale. The higher your GPA, the lower you need to score on the tests. The lower your GPA, the higher you need to score on your tests.

Academic Scholarships

You can be awarded academic scholarships on top of your sports scholarships. Academic scholarships also will be determined by your GPA and test scores.

To be eligible for academic scholarships, you’ll need more than only the minimum standard GPA and scores that you need for admission and eligibility. The better your GPA and test scores, the bigger your chances to qualify for an academic scholarship.

The best thing about academic scholarships is that most of them will be given to you automatically if you meet the criteria. Each university will have its own rules and scholarship amount, so check with the university you’re applying for to learn what opportunities they offer.

ACT or SAT? Which entrance exam best suits you?

ACT or SAT? Which exam should you take?

When it comes to deciding which of the exams you should take between the ACT and the SAT, your decision would be purely based on which one you feel more comfortable taking.

The universities and the leagues don’t have a preference in any of the tests, and they weight both tests scores equally. The decision-making process here then is which exam best fits your abilities.

There are a few things you can look at from the tests to help you make a decision in which one you want to take.

The SAT has one of the math sections restricting the use of calculators; the ACT allows calculators at all times during their math section. On the other hand, the ACT math section is slightly more complexed, more advanced math.

The SAT gives you more time per question than the ACT – If you usually need some time to answer a question, the SAT may be the option here. Another point to consider is the ACT has a Science Reasoning section, which the SAT doesn’t.

These are only a few points you can look at that can help you make a decision in which test you should take. Another great way to decide is to take the practice tests. Both the ACT and the SAT have practice tests available, and you can take both to see which one you feel more comfortable and fits you better.

ACT Test Entrance exam

ACT

The ACT is composed of four academic skills areas: Mathematics, Reading, English and Science Reasoning. The duration time of the test is of 2h55min. If you choose to take the essay, you’ll have an extra 30 minutes.

The English section is 45 minutes long, with 75 multiple-choice questions. It consists of five passages which have underlined parts and then give you the options to correct the underlined sections.

The Mathematics section is 60 minutes long, with 60 questions. You can expect questions from algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The questions get harder as you go through the section. On the ACT math section, you are allowed to use a calculator.

The Reading section is 35 minutes long, with 40 multiple-choice questions. It consists of four parts: three containing one long prose passage and one containing two short prose passages.

The Science Reasoning section is 35 minutes long, with 40 multiple-choice questions, and it consists of seven passages with five to seven questions each. This section will test your skills in Data Representation, Research Summary, and Conflicting Viewpoints.

The ACT grades each section individually on a scale of 1–36. To make up your composite score, it sums all sections and then divides them to find the mean.

NCAA uses the sliding scale to determine what test score you need. The sliding scale matches your GPA with your test score. For the ACT, NCAA uses the sum of the four sections to determine your score. As an example, if your GPA is the minimum of 2.3 required to play D1, you need an ACT sum score of 75. NAIA uses the ACT composite score to determine your eligibility, accepting a minimum score of 18.

To find out all available dates and to register for the ACT, visit the ACT website.

SAT Test Entrance exam

SAT

You have probably seen one of those American movies where high school students are stressing about taking the SAT. But don’t you worry! We will break down the test for you so you can prepare yourself to succeed and get the required scores.

The SAT takes three hours to finish. If you are taking the SAT with essay, an extra 50 minutes will be added on the test time. The test is composed of four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (no calculator), and Math (calculator allowed).

The SAT scores range from 400 to 1600, and your score is calculated from two sections: Mathematics (200 to 800) and Critical Reading and Writing (200 to 800).

The Reading section of the SAT has 52 questions and a time limit of 65 minutes. The Writing section of the SAT has 44 multiple-choice questions and a time limit of 35 minutes. Both the Reading and the Writing sections have questions based on reading passages which may be accompanied by tables, graphs, and charts.

The Mathematics of the SAT has two sections: Math Test – Calculator and Math Test – No Calculator. You will have 80 minutes to complete the math section, which includes 58 questions: 45 multiple-choice questions and 13 grid-in questions. For the multiple-choice questions, you will have to choose between four possible answers; the grid-in questions won’t provide any answer options at all, and you need to figure it out what the answer is.

The math section with no calculator goes for 25 minutes and has 20 questions (15 multiple choice and 5 grid-in). The math section with calculator goes for 55 minutes and has 38 questions (30 multiple choice and 8 grid-in).

The NCAA doesn’t use the writing section to calculate your total score to give you eligibility. NCAA only considers the Math and Critical Reading sections.

NCAA uses the sliding scale to determine what test score you need. The sliding scale matches your GPA with your test score. As an example, if your GPA is the minimum of 2.3 (out of 4.0) required to play D1, you need an SAT score of 980. NAIA minimum score on the SAT is 970.

The SAT is only offered for a limited number of times over the year. Tests outside the U.S. are available in August, October, December, March, and May. To find out all the dates available and register to the take the test, check the College Board website.


Like any other exam you would take, preparation is key. Make sure you’re studying and preparing yourself early for the tests. Learn as much as you can on how each test will challenge you and which one will best fit your abilities.

Lastly, take this part of your recruiting process very seriously. Many students fail to achieve the test scores required and miss out on their scholarship offer. Once again, the success of your recruiting process will depend on you.

See our latest blog posts:

Choosing a University To Study and Play Sports

CHOOSING A UNIVERSITY TO STUDY AND PLAY SPORTS

Choosing a university that you’re going to spend four years of your life is a pretty big decision. There are many factors you need to consider in the decision-making process.

When you are making this decision taking into account that you are going to be a student-athlete, this decision can become more complicated. More than the factors you’d typically consider as a student, you also need to consider the factors as an athlete.

In this post, we will be talking about the key factors you should take into consideration when choosing a university. Understanding them will help you to evaluate your options and make a better decision.

Related Links:

Student Factors

Academic Major Availability – The first thing you should look at in a university from the student perspective, is if they offer the major you want to study. Universities offer different courses, and not all of them will have the one you want to study available. Make sure the university you are considering offers the major you want.

Admission Requirements – Once you know the university offer your study course, you need to find out what are the admission requirements for the university. What’s the GPA you need to have? What is the SAT/ACT scores you need to obtain?

Affordability – I would say it is one of the most significant factors students and their parents take into consideration. College is a massive investment, and parents sometimes start saving money since their child is born to pay for their degree.

As a student-athlete, getting a sports scholarship will give you some financial help. You can also apply for academic scholarships, that can be awarded depending on your GPA or entry-level tests scores.

Location – As an international student, you are moving away from your family and your country. Choosing a place that matches your preferences in life will help you in the adaptation, making you enjoy your experience.

Do you like warm and sunny or cold and snowy weather? Do you want to live in an urban, suburban or rural area? What are the off-campus activities you will find?

Campus Size – Here, you will look into enrolment numbers and facilities. Again, as an international student, you will most probably be living on campus and spending most of your time there as well.

How many students are there at the university? What options are available for dorms? What choices do you have for food? Do they have recreational facilities and activities available?

Athlete Factors

Sports Program – Just like the academic majors, not all universities will offer all sports programs available out there. From the athlete perspective, this is the first factor you need to find out about before choosing a university.

Does the university offer the sports program you want? Will they be recruiting your position on your graduation class year? Are there scholarships available?

League and Division – This falls under two things: what is the league and division you desire to play and your ability to play at the desired league and division.

Coaches will evaluate you by your highlight skills video. Your video will tell them how good you are, even if your ability is higher or lower than what the video shows.

Of course, you can always aim to play at the highest level, but you need to keep your mind open to all possibilities, looking at a program that will best fit you and your skills.

The second thing to take in consideration is how you want your athlete experience to be. Do you want to be a key player from the beginning? Are you happy to sit on the bench? Is being part of the roster enough? Answering these questions will help you make a better decision.

Competitiveness – This factor may not be relevant to everyone, but it is worth mentioning. By playing any sport, you will be competing. What is the outcome you want out of the competition? Do you want to win? Is qualifying to playoffs enough? Are you happy only participating?

You need to know yourself and how competitive you are. If you want to win, you won’t be satisfied playing for a program that never makes the playoffs. If you are happy only by playing, you may not like the pressure that a winning team has.

Choosing a university process

By now, you already know better on what to consider and look for when choosing a university. The next step is to start doing your research and putting your options together.

Keeping yourself organised will help you to evaluate each university better. It will give you the data you need to make your decisions. Following the process below is one of the ways you can make the process works.

Make a list of universities – As you have been reading in this post, there is a lot of factors you should be considering when choosing a university. Trying to fit all of your preferences in the initial research could make you waste a lot of time.

Instead, we advise you to research first the universities that offer your sports program and the course you want to study. Make a list of at least 30 universities. The more universities you have in your initial list, the better.

Narrow your list down – After you have your initial list, start being picky to narrow it down with the universities that best match your preferences. You want to have at least ten universities in the next list.

To help you out, you can make a spreadsheet with all the points that matter to you. When researching the university, put a note on the corresponding cell if the university matches your preferences or not. Organising your research will help you to visualise your options better.

Start contacting coaches – Research time is over. Now it’s time to start approaching the college coaches. With your list of best options, get the contact information of the coaches and start a conversation of what are the possibilities of you getting a sports scholarship in their program.

If you need help on how to find the coaches contact information, what is the best way to contact them, and what to say in your communications, this article will help you.


I think the best advice we can give here is for you to keep your mind open. As we mentioned before, several factors can make the university you most want to attend not being a good fit for you at that moment. Not all of your options will tick all of your boxes, but be open and consider them from the beginning. They could become your best or last choice, and it will be easier for you to accept going to that university then.

Another piece of advice, now related to athletics, is for you to have universities from different leagues and divisions in your final list. Imagine you are obsessed by playing sports at NCAA D1, and you only have universities from this league and university in your final list. D1 schools are very hard to get in, from their academic admission requirements to the number of students you will be competing against for a spot in the roster.

It comes down to the first advice of keeping your mind open. Some D2 universities have better programs than some D1 programs. So make sure to have a variety of options to increase your chances of finding your sports scholarship offer.

Lastly but most importantly, make sure you’re choosing a university you’re will be happy at even if you weren’t playing sports.

You’ll spend one-semester playing sports and competing, while in the off-season you’ll be focusing more on studying and training. Choosing a university that will make you happy in the off-season means you enjoy being where you are.

When making the final decision-making process before committing to a school, ask yourself if you would go there even if you weren’t playing sports. If your answer is yes, then you can rest assured you are making the right decision for yourself and your student-athlete experience.

Take your first step to your college dream by taking AUSA Free Assessment.

Contacting College Coaches

CONTACTING COLLEGE COACHES

Contacting college coaches is a crucial step in your recruiting process. When you are trying to be recruited by a university to play college sports, you have many requirements to meet to become a high prospect recruit and have a chance of calling the attention of college coaches.

However, meeting the requirements itself, it’s not enough for you to call the attention of the university of your dreams. College coaches are very busy, and they don’t have the time or the resources to be everywhere scouting. 

You need to be contact coaches of the universities you are interested in to show your interest in their program to be noticed, and when you do it, you need to do it in the right way.

In this post, we will talk about contacting college coaches and how to present yourself, so you stand out over others and don’t go unnoticed from the universities you wish to represent.

Recruiting Process Resume Template

Resume

When you are seeking for a scholarship, you are marketing yourself to college coaches, trying to convince them you have what it takes to be part of their program.

Making a resume is a professional way to put all of your information together, making it easier for coaches to evaluate you. Make sure to include all the information they need to know, making it short and direct. The simpler, the better.

Below you will find what type of information you need to include in your resume.

  • Personal Information – Include your full name, height, weight, nationality, and your contact information such as email address and phone number.
  • Academic Information – Include your GPA (Grade Average Point), high school name, graduation year, academic awards, and extracurricular activities you are involved.
  • Athletic Information – Include the sport you play, position, relevant statistics, high school teams, clubs, and any tournament, event or showcase you attended.
  • Highlight Skills Video – Include a link of your highlights video for coaches to evaluate your sports skills.
  • References – Include the name and contact information of your coaches, either from high school or clubs.

If you are unsure of how to put all the information together, have a look in a resume template.

When you choose to do your recruiting process with AUSA Sports Scholarships, you have access to create your online profile. The online profile is an easier and quicker way for coaches to look at your information and evaluate you. Take AUSA Free Assessment.

Ways to contact coaches

It’s a no-brainer. Contacting college coaches is the same as contacting any other person: emails, phone calls, social media, etc.

Finding the contact information isn’t that hard as well. Most – if not all – universities website sports page will have the phone number and the email of the coaching staff. You can simply get the information and make contact.

The hard part comes when you do make contact. Are you calling or sending an email? What are you going to say to make the coach interested in you? What type of information do you need to share with them? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Email

Contacting college coaches by email is the best way for the initial contact. When writing an email, you can do it in your own time. Make sure to put the effort to make the email look professional, doing proper research about the university and the program you want to be part of, and including all the relevant information.

Here are a few good practices when sending emails to college coaches:

Personalise each email – coaches receive lots of email from students. They can recognise when an email is a copy and paste message you are sending to other coaches. As mentioned before, you should put time and effort into creating an email that will make coaches wanting to reply to you.

Attach your resume – Your resume already contains all the relevant information the coach needs to look to evaluate you.

Email content – As your resume will be showing the information the coach is after, use the body of the email as a small cover letter. Talk about your aspirations, and why you want to be part of their program. Make sure to do proper research to be accurate when you talk about the university.

Use a proper email address – Your email address should sound professional as well. Don’t use an email address like playmaker@gmail.com. Your name and graduation year will do the job, something like paulsmith2020@gmail.com. Creating a new email account is free, so there is no excuse for using an email address you created when you were 12 years old.

The title is essential -You need to make the coach want to open your email. To make a coach interested in your email, highlight your best feature in the title, like your GPA, test scores or sport-specific information. An example of a baseball is “Paul Smith 2020 Grad 3.2 GPA RH Pitcher 6’1″ 175lbs 82mph Video Included”.

Spell Check and use proper grammar – The way you write does make a difference. Make the right first impression, check and double-check all the grammar and spelling. If you need extra help, ask your English teacher to have a look at it for you.

Ways of contacting college coaches

Phone Call

After you made the first contact with a coach by email, if you haven’t received a reply after a few days, a phone call is an excellent way to follow-up that email.

Making the phone call as a follow-up doesn’t mean you will only speak to the coach over the phone for that reason. Take this opportunity to start creating a relationship with the coach.

When contacting college coaches by phone, keep in mind:

Be ready for the phone call – Getting prepared for the phone call is a must. You don’t want to get a hold of the coach and have no idea what to say. Write down a script that you can follow as a guide, with all questions and facts you want to mention on the call.

Know specific information – Do some research on the university and the program, know the team’s past results, find out if the coach, the team or the university won any type of award lately. That will show the coach your genuine interest.

Talk about academics – Coaches want to have peace of mind that a recruit won’t give them a headache when it comes to academics. Ask coaches about their requirements, such as GPA and test scores. That shows your concern about your grades to the coach.

Learn how to keep in touch – Ask the coach what their preferred method of contact for the future is, and what is a proper frequency to be in touch. You don’t want to be emailing every day or calling every week. Learn about how to keep the coach updated with your progress.

Social media

Most of the sports programs nowadays have a page on social media. That gives you a chance to follow, learn more about their program and keep yourself updated with the latest news and results.

Social media can also be used for you to get in touch with current roster players. After you made contact with the college coach, you can try and make contact with one of the players to learn more about the student-athlete life and routine in that specific university.

What you need to keep in mind about social media is that coaches and other staff from the university use it to evaluate you. Universities care about their image and reputation very much, and they won’t recruit someone that they will have a reason to believe might cause them problems in the future.

What you do and say online can and will be used against you. If you are willing to get recruited, keep your social media accounts as clean as possible from any subject and pictures that can be seen as unfavourable, as coaches and universities will be checking it.

Use the information provided to your advantage

Getting recruited is a very competitive process, and it requires hard work and persistence. You need to know how to do it, when to do it, what to say, and how to say it, to stand a chance of being successful.

Following the guides we have just shared with you in this post will put you ahead of your competition when talking to college coaches. Make good use of it, and use it in your favour.

Are you overwhelmed with all the information we just shared with you and still not sure of how to do it? AUSA Sports Scholarships can help to guide you on your recruitment process. Take our FREE ASSESSMENT today to learn how we can help you to make your dream of playing college sports to come true.

US Sports Scholarships

SPORTS SCHOLARSHIPS IN THE US GUIDE: HOW TO BECOME A HIGH PROSPECT RECRUIT

Getting a sports scholarship to play college sports in the US is the dream of thousands of students. It allows you to keep playing the game you love – having a chance to become a professional – while you get a higher education diploma.

Such an opportunity, no doubt, has a massive competition, and thousands of students around the world are searching for a sports scholarship opportunity every year.

Knowing the right steps you need to take during high school to prepare yourself will give you an advantage over other prospects.

In this post, we will tell you how you can prepare yourself to become a high prospect to get recruited by an American university under a sports scholarship.

When should you start the recruiting process?

To find sports scholarships, students, in general, can start their process any time they want. When they are starting high school, year 11 or year 12, after graduation, and even after they began a university course somewhere else.

The success of the process for most of the students will be up to them. It will depend on when they are starting their process and the requirements they will be able to fulfil from that point on. For this reason, the earlier you start working to make yourself a high prospect, the better.

There are three different leagues you can play for in the US sports college system: NCAA, NJCAA and NAIA. Each one of the associations has different requirements you need to meet to be eligible to play. Taking the NCAA as an example, they have three separate division: D1, D2 and D3. NCAA Division 1 is the highest level possible to play sports, and their requirements are the hardest to meet. As they are the hardest one, we will use the NCAA Division 1 as a guide for you. Then you know that if you meet the requirements to play D1 level, you will be able to play in any other division or league you want.

To keep it all as simple as possible, we will describe how you should prepare yourself to play NCAA Division 1. We will talk about four topics: Grades, Test Scores, High School Curriculum, and Sports Skills.

Grades

I will put this information in capital letters hoping it will be emphasizing enough what I want you to understand. GRADES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR BECOMING A HIGH PROSPECT RECRUIT.

The US educational system has a GPA (Grade Point Average) as their grades evaluation, and it scales from 0.0 to 4.0. You calculate the GPA by the grades you get in a specific subject and the credits provided by that subject to your curriculum.

Every university has different requirements in terms of the GPA for admission, as well as the leagues and their various divisions have different GPA requirements for playing eligibility. NCAA Division 1 requirements for both university admission and eligibility will have the highest demands.

The entire high school period is taking in consideration when calculating your final GPA, which you will use to apply for admissions and playing eligibility. That’s the reason why having good grades throughout high school is the most important thing you need to do.

SAT Test, ACT Test, TOEFL Test, IELTS Test

Test Scores

Test Scores are an essential step in the recruiting process. For now, we will talk about it briefly as we will have a specific post to discuss it in more depth.

Test Scores are an entry-level requirement for admissions and playing eligibility. The most common tests you will need to take are the SAT, ACT, TOEFL and IELTS. Universities will request different exams depending on their process. For playing eligibility, you will typically take the SAT or the ACT.

As an international student, you won’t be able to get recruited without a satisfactory test score. Both the university and the leagues will require a minimum score.

Test Scores and Grades walk together, though. NCAA Division 1 has a sliding scale that matches your final High School GPA with the test score you achieve. It pretty much is if you have a high GPA, you will need a lower Test Score. If you have a low GPA, you will need a higher Test Score.

NCAA core courses

High School Curriculum

The High School Curriculum is attached to the playing eligibility for NCAA Division 1. Playing eligibility involves much more than the high school curriculum. Still, if you don’t follow it as you should, you won’t be able to play Division 1 sports.

NCAA Division 1 requires students to complete 16 core courses during the high school to give you playing eligibility.

The 16 core courses are:

  • Four years of English
  • Three years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
  • Two years of natural/physical science (including one year of lab science if your high school offers it)
  • One additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
  • Two years of social science
  • Four additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy

From the 16 core courses, you must complete 10 of them before your seventh semester (beginning of year 12), including seven in English, math or natural/physical science. After you begin your seventh semester, you can’t retake any of those ten courses to improve your GPA.

When you start the process to be recruited late in high school (year 11 or 12) or after you graduate, you will be at risk of not being able to complete all the 16 core courses needed.

In this case, you might not be able to play Division 1, but you might meet the requirements for other divisions or leagues. Make sure to sit down with your curriculum advisor and make a plan to complete all the core courses throughout high school.

Alternatively, you can take AUSA free assessment to find out where you are situated.

Sports Skills

Of course the highest level of your skills in your sport, the better are your chances of getting a sports scholarship offer from a higher level league and division.

The thing is, as an international student, you won’t be able to show college coaches your skills in person. The way you will be showing your talent will be through highlights skills video.

Let’s say a coach has to decide between you and a player that has higher skills than you. From a video perception, you can showcase your video with plays that will make the coach believe you are the better player. So the way you market yourself and the way you present your highlight video is even more important than your actual skills.

Every sport will have a different way to showcase the players’ skills as well as various types of skills that needs to showcase on the video. When recording game and training footage of your skills, following the tips below will make your video stand out over others.

  • Introduction – Make sure to put your name, position, height, weight, and contact information at the beginning of the video. Additionally, you can also include your GPA, clubs you played for and high school.
  • Best plays come first – College coaches receive tons of highlights videos from students from all over the world. Impress and catch the coach attention right from the beginning to increase your chances of getting noticed from your video. 
  • Use game, practice and skills footage – Again depending on the sport you play, coaches will prefer one of the types of footage mentioned. Game footage is always the best, but skills and practice footage are also essential.
  • Make use of narrows, freeze the video or use spotlights/shadows – College coaches don’t know who you are. They need to be able to identify you in your highlights video. Indicating who you are when your play is about to happen, give coaches the clarity to know you were the one performing that fantastic skill.
  • Quality Video – No coach will be able to identify what is happening on your highlights video if the video quality isn’t good. Record your skills professionally as much as possible.

Your video will show college coaches if you have the skills level for playing to their program. Take your time when editing and picking the plays you want to add to the video, as rushing to make a quick video can cost you scholarship offers.

See below an example of a video:

Make a plan and be consistent

The competitiveness of the recruiting process to get a sports scholarship in the US is getting harder and harder every year. The globalization of the world gives people worldwide a chance to find an opportunity to play college sports in the USA.

Following the guidelines shared with you in this post since the first year of High School will get you ahead from other prospects. Starting your recruiting preparation early in High School does make a big difference in making you a high prospect recruit.

Remember, playing college sports is totally up to you. Take the right preparation steps, stay on track of your grades, study for the entrance exams, record your games, practices and skills drills and you will be on the right pathway to follow your dream.

Not sure about if you are on the right path to get recruited for a sports scholarship? Take AUSA Free Assessment, and we will tell you the chances you have of getting your offer.