The student-athlete experience is when an athlete goes on to play at a college or university while completing their education. It is about balancing athletics and academics at the same time while receiving financial aid for it. It may sound easy, but getting into a university team is always challenging. It comes with a lot of benefits, but also requires discipline, determination and the ability to handle responsibilities. According to scholarship stats, only 7% of high-school students in the USA make it into college sports. That percentage is even smaller for young athletes in Bangladesh. It is a privilege to play at a competitive college level – many want it but very few achieve it.
When a university coach starts a recruitment plan, there is a limited number of scholarships that they can give local and foreign students. It is good to know that, on average, a coach receives about 200 emails every week from interested athletes all around the globe.
The most exciting part of being involved in college sports is that you can compete with athletes from all over the world, make lifelong friends and travel to different places to play matches. The difficult part is that you are always pressed for time, and may need to finish your coursework on the bus or in-between classes, practice and work. It requires a lot of sacrifice.
While the college student-athlete experience will stay with you long after you retire from your sport, it can also teach you life skills that come in handy when applying for jobs and internships. Many of the skills you learn as part of a team can be directly implemented at a professional setting with your coworkers.
Not only that, in order to continue one’s scholarship, it’s important to maintain a certain GPA level as well. Which means, you would have to perform on the field and achieve good grades in order to graduate. Being a student-athlete does not guarantee that you will become a professional player post-graduation. Instead, it sets a foundation, gives you an edge and exposes you to scouts.
In Bangladesh, there is nothing called a student-athlete experience, as the universities here do not offer scholarships for athletics. But at NLSM, you can get that exposure, compete abroad and return to the country to give back. All of our coaches are certified, and our training is designed to provide game-like experiences with proper drills.
Football is about having fun. Whether it’s on a neighbourhood street or on a professional field, the drive to play will always improve your craft. Being a college athlete is rewarding because you see life differently than most people. Enjoy it while it lasts!