What is the NCAA
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the largest university sports’ governing body in the United States. There are two other collegiate sports governing bodies, namely the NAIA and the NJCAA. The NCAA is the biggest with over 500,000 student-athletes who compete in 24 sports across 3 divisions. The NCAA allows it's member universities to award over $3.3 billion in athletic scholarships every year.
What Is Their Purpose?
The NCAA prioritizes student academics, student well-being and competitive fairness so athletes can succeed on the field, in the classroom and in life. They have two main focuses: 1) To ensure that all students put their studies before their sports (hence the name student-athlete and not an athletic student), and 2) They guarantee the fairness of competition by making sure that no student has played sports on a professional level at any time before attending college.
NCAA Student Requirements
The NCAA upholds their purpose by ensuring all Student-Athlete's comply with 3 eligibility requirements before being allowed to participate in college sports. Student's may be athletically suited to a university or college team; however before coaches are allowed to accept you, students are required to meet specific academic and non-professional standards. These requirements are listed below:
1) Subject Requirements:
In order to be academically prepared for the demands of college life, the NCAA requires students to have an excellent educational foundation throughout high school and states that they must take the following 16 core courses (Grade 8, is not Included):
Four Years of English
Four Years of a 2nd Language
Three Years of Math (Completed before grade 12)
One Additional Year of Math or Natural Science
Two Years of Natural Science (Life Science and Physical Science)
Two Years of Social Science (History and Geography)
2) SAT & GPA Requirements:
Athletes who are recruited to USA sports teams will have to maintain good academic standing in order for their scholarships to be renewed. If they do not, they run the risk of being Redshirted (benched for a year) or worse, having their scholarship revoked. Therefore, athletes must have a minimum GPA of 2.3 and an SAT score of 980 to meet the academic requirements. Higher GPA's and SAT scores will make your chances of acceptance a lot higher.
Professionalism will come up when going through the NCAA registration process, and you need to know that student-athletes cannot be professionals before playing in college. In the eyes of the NCAA, merely winning tournament prize money or having a company sponsor your golf balls is considered a breach of their professionalism rules, so you need to be vigilant with the small things. If going professional after college is your goal, you need to understand that once you turn pro, you cannot go back and compete at the NCAA collegiate level.
What are the 3 NCAA Divisions?
NCAA consists of three divisions: Division one, two and three. Division 1 and 2 award scholarships for sport while Division 3 does not. The Divisions are based on the size and investment in sports and have nothing to do with academics or the quality of the degree you will be receiving after graduation. For example, Harvard University is Division 1, while MIT University is Division 3. These are both brilliant universities; one chooses to invest in sports while the other does not.
The NCAA is a big league with many opportunities for student-athletes, with many South African students finding success at Division 1 and 2 universities. Head to the Aspire Atlantic website to see the list of successful scholarship candidates who are enjoying life in the USA!
Are you an elite athlete? Do you want to know what your chances are of competing in the NCAA on a Sports Scholarship?
By Tyler Hollingsworth
"Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk." - James Cash Penny.
Want to be successful? Set yourself some goals; without them, you are dreaming. In this post, Aspire Atlantic's founder will walk you through 5 steps that will turn your goals into reality by explaining how he went from being a complete rookie at running, to completing the Comrades Marathon within six months.
"What do you want to achieve?" The chances are it has something to do with having more money or being happier, right? If you are one of our scholarship athletes, you probably want to win a full-ride scholarship to a division 1 university! This is a great place to start, as not all goals are created equally. Which is why I am going to teach you the SMART Goal Setting Method, the same method I used, to turn my wish, into reality!
1) Be Specific:
The S in SMART goals stands for Specific. People tend to be very vague when setting goals, in order to achieve something we need to drill down on exactly what we want. For example, people might say, "I want to lose weight," this is too generalised. Instead, you should say, "I want to go to the gym four times per week, for 1 hour!". When I started my Comrades training, I didn't simply run on the weekends and hope I would be ready. I consulted experience runners and followed a specific training schedule to the letter! The programme was specific, so I knew exactly what I needed to focus on.
2) Make Your Goals Measurable:
Smart Goals are measurable goals! Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated, and it is a great way to pivot if you aren't reaching your targets. If your goal is to lose weight and you have been going to the gym consistently, set smaller measurable miles stones along the way. For example; "I want to lose 3 kgs per month for two months", reaching these smaller miles stones is what will keep you motivated. At the start of my Comrade's prep, my first milestone was to run three times per week; During my second month, my milestone was to run five times per week. Seeing that my body could handle those distances, my confidence grew.
3) Your Goals Need to be Attainable:
A stands for Attainable. Make sure you can achieve your dreams. Don't set impossible goals, as you will soon realise the enormity of your task and give up. Your goals should be challenging but achievable. For example, saying "I want to make 1 million rand by the end of the month" is not realistic, but making an extra R1000 by the end of the month is. By setting achievable goals, you will gain the confidence and experience you need to keep going. During my Comrade's journey, many people thought I was crazy to take on the race as a complete rookie. Some of you reading this might be thinking the same. Well, I believe the only thing that limits people is themselves. Whether you believe you can, or you can't run the Comrades, either way, you are right!
4) Are your goals Relevant?
Your goals should be relevant to your life. Think to yourself, "Will achieving this goal improve my life?", you need to think of the opportunity costs and trades off's. Are you willing to give up sleeping in 5 times per week and do you have the time in your day to run for an hour each morning? For me, when someone says they are too busy or they do not have time to do something, what they are actually saying is that their goal is not a priority. If you want something, you will make time for it even if you have to wake up at 4:30 am every day for the next 6 months. For me, wanting the Comrades medal taught me so much more than I bargained for, such as the value of dedication, waking up early, and with small sacrifices, you can have anything you want.
5) Time Bound:
Smart goals are bound by deadlines. You need to set a specific date that you want your goal to have been reached. For me this was easy, race day was June 9th, 2019, but for most goals, you will need to set an exact date for when you want to have attained your goal. If your goal doesn't have a time limit, then you will put it off for tomorrow and then the next, which will result in procrastination and failure. Think back to when you've had a project at work or school, you were likely given a month to do it but ended up doing it in the last two days. Why? Because there was no urgency and if you had no deadline you would never have got it done. Setting a date for attainment is key to the SMART method.
Now you know how to set Smart, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals in 5 easy steps. Your goals should look something like this. "I will exercise 5 times per week and run an average of 200 Kilometers per month, in order to have prepared my body to withstand the rigours of the Comrade's Marathon by June 9th, 2019! In order to reach this goal, I am willing to sacrifice sleeping in and I will wake up at 4:30 am each morning for the next six months."
Thank you for reading the blog on Goal setting. I apologise to all the non-runners out there, but if you would like help with alternative goals, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you interested in studying in the USA? If so, chances are you know about the SAT or have at least heard it being referred to in movies. So what is the SAT, and why is it important for students to know about it? Well, in short, the SAT is a popular aptitude test used by USA universities to gauge if a student meets their admissions requirements.
The Scholastic Aptitude Test, (SAT) is one of two standardized college admissions tests used in the USA, the other is the American College Test (ACT). The SAT first started being used in 1933 as a measurement tool for the intellectual potential for scholarship candidates by Harvard University. By 1940, the popularity of the Test had skyrocketed, and many colleges began using it as their standard entrance exam.
What is on the SAT?
The SAT is a multiple choice test out of 1600 points and is made up of 2 sections, and an optional essay. The sections are, 1) Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, 2) Maths and the optional essay. Depending on the universities you are applying to will determine if you have to take the essay or not. The content contained in the SAT is covered in the South African Caps system so you will not be surprised by any unknown material, but you will need to study and take up to 10 practice tests. There are great online resources such as the Khanacademy.org, or you can contact Genius Premium Tuition for 1 on 1 SAT tutoring.
When should you take the SAT?
At Aspire Atlantic, we suggest writing the SAT in Grade 11. Some of you might be asking "Why not in Grade 12?". Well, if a student does not get the score they need to apply to their desired college, they can retake the Test in their Matric year without it being too pressured. Grade 12 is a stressful year; students need to plan wisely to give themselves time to take the Test, meet their academic, extramural and social obligations.
Where can I take the Test?
You can book a test online at The College Board's website. In South Africa, we have four chances a year to write the SAT, which are usually in March, May, October and December. The venues do change according to availability, so make sure you register early. The main testing locations are situated in KZN, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, so if you are from out of town, make sure you plan on travelling to the testing stations.
What is a good SAT score?
Well, a good SAT score depends on the student's abilities, and each university requirements. The College Board has set the SAT Benchmark at 1000points, with Maths being 530 and English being 470. At Aspire Atlantic, we recommend that students aim for a score of 1250 which will give you a good chance at gaining entrance to some great universities. However, If you are looking at applying to the Top 50 USA universities, you will need to score over 1450 to even be considered. Remember that a high SAT doesn't guarantee you funding or a placement at a University, as each University's Admissions Office has its own admissions and scholarships criteria.
All blogs are written by former student-athletes. If you would like to learn more, please leave a comment below and the author will respond to your questions.