The popularity of seeking sports scholarships at American Colleges and Universities is growing and growing. With the increased awareness of this life-changing opportunity the recruitment service industry has developed. There are many services now registered and offering to help to young talent.
There are many good ones! However, we feel compelled to write this article because unfortunately, this is not a regulated industry and there are some poor and frankly dishonest organizations operating too.
It is, of course, possible to find opportunities without the help of any service, but there is a reason why the majority of international student-athletes are seeking professional help to ensure they find the most suitable and optimal opportunities. The good recruiters can search all the market for you to find the best and realistic options, guide you through the complex paperwork and help guide you on eligibility regulations.
Naturally, as a private business, we would always want students to choose to use our help! But what is even more important, for the entire integrity of the industry, is that the public know what to look for in a recruiting service and get an excellent experience regardless of who helps.
Most recruiters will have a good pitch and tell you all the right things you want to hear. But when researching, ensure you consider the following and look deeper at who you should trust:
There are recruiters that don’t follow the NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA rules and damage students’ opportunities. These inexperienced and dishonest companies operate their service in violation of the college recruiting rules set by the College Sports Governing bodies.
WARNING: Any offer of GUARANTEES of scholarship offers OR that you pay one fee to start and one fee after you get the scholarship offer – these are violations of college rules and make you ineligible – meaning you won’t be allowed to compete in college sports.
The student-athletes themselves would be deemed ineligible to play college sports if they use such a service. Don’t let your recruiting service make you ineligible by how they operate their service.
Don’t be fooled by false claims
Don’t be fooled by organizations claiming they are “World Leading” or “The Best” as part of their sales material. This is something that is not quantifiable. Our organization considers ourselves one of the top recruiters in the industry, but cannot claim to be the “World Leading Agency” without any award or ranking system.
This is one of the elements that make me very angry as a professional in this industry, as it hurts many students’ futures. There are recruiters that will suggest they can guarantee you certain scholarships or opportunities beyond what is possible, so that they can sell you their service ahead of a competitor. Good recruiters will give you honest feedback and realistic expectations – because they know that they live and die on their reputation. Don’t be fooled and become a victim of a desperate salesman.
Check the background of the company. Are they a registered company? Have you ‘googled’ them?
You would be surprised when you check national records that some of the organizations that some ‘established recruiters’ are bankrupt or non-existent. Do your checks and question the recruiter!
(Often there is a good explanation – like changes in structure or a holding company in another name)
How long has the recruiter been operating? Is this their main profession or a thing he or she is doing on the side? How many students have they helped? To be a great recruiter, it takes many years of networking and seeing cases, as each student-athletes case is different. Recruiting companies that claim to have helped hundreds of students when they were founded last year should be an alarm bell. (Ask the recruiter for referrals of students they have helped)
How many will help you
How many full-time people are in the team that will help you? Many companies say they have a large network of “scouts”, but what is key for you as the customer is who and how many you will get help from that actually is employed by the company.
What is included in the service?
Don’t accept a recruiter just telling you that they will help you with ‘everything’. Ask for a breakdown on what they will help with: School Applications, Financial Verification Documents, Student Visa and Immigration, Health Insurance advice and more.
Does the organization have local experience?
Has the organization helped many students from your country?
An example in Scandinavia: there is much administrative work with Lånekassen (State Educational Loan Fund) and how to structure your finances as well as government medical support (HELFO) – does your recruiter have local knowledge of these things?
You often get ONE shot at this massive decision on your future, you need to ensure that you get the best available help. Also, that you have the correct information on what is realistic and where you would be eligible. Consider the facts and background, not just a compelling sales pitch.
Here at College Scholarships USA, we are one of the established and respected organizations with over 11 years experience helping in excess of 2000 students, like anyone, we are not claiming to be perfect, but we have an excellent track record and follow the correct rules and ethical standards.
In Norway, we are a certified ethical education provider by ANSA (Association of Norwegian Students Abroad).
We also are a founding member of ‘The Alliance’ which is a group of elite agencies in Europe who are working together to set the moral and ethical boundaries in the industry and collaborating with organizations like the NCAA and NAIA to improve processes for the benefit of all prospective student-athletes.
We hope that our work can eventually lead to an official certification process and some regulation to the industry so that no young student has their future damaged by subpar or unscrupulous services.
There are many great companies that can help you!
Do your research and due diligence…this is a huge decision for your future. Make sure you get the right help.