The most important decision in the scholarship process is choosing the right offer. Sounds obvious but this decision can make or break your whole experience and there are various influences that can affect the decision.
Some people may only receive one offer, so the decision may seem easier, but so is the possibility of accepting an offer that compromises expectations. In other cases, you may be advised to accept the first offer, which was certainly the case in my experience. It is important that the excitement of the offer doesn’t outweigh your reasoning and research. Whether you’re advised to take the first offer or not, I would advise seeking further offers, so that you have options to compare and contrast.
Many different factors should be considered when deciding your future university. One of the biggest is the amount of scholarship being offered. A 100% scholarship at any school may be financially more attractive than a smaller scholarship at a better university. However, factors such as standard of team and coaches, historic success, level of education, professional opportunities, facilities, culture, location, and school size may be critical too.
My own personal goal before signing my scholarship was to play professionally in the USA I had completed a youth scholar at Cambridge United, before playing around 30 games at Conference level, so my ambitions were not unrealistic. Over my 4 years in the USA I began to realise that my scholarship agents hadn’t really understood that goal. I firmly believe that after finding me a 100% scholarship very quickly, and strongly advising me to sign it, their attention moved on to the next client. I wasn’t their priority anymore.
After a few days at my new school, I wondered if I’d picked the right place. It was a relatively small school in Kentucky; not quite Manhattan or the Florida beach that I’d imagined!! A population of 11,800 and the closest city was an hour away. However, what it did have, was a team culture like nothing I’d seen before. I’d played football from 4 years old, and in a professional environment since the age of 9, but it took a 16-hour flight to find a dressing room with a chemistry that I could call home. We had players from every single continent, some couldn’t speak English, but they all became family. After “hell week”; a week of fitness training during pre-season, I quickly began to know I could trust the guys and form unbreakable bonds. However, for some people this still wasn’t the right environment. During my 4 years in the USA, I had 78 teammates in total – 45 of them didn’t complete their scholarship at my school. Some transferred to other schools, others were homesick, some had family issues, and others just didn’t get what they expected.
This was the biggest motivation for setting up FiveZero. I want to help place each prospective student athlete at the right place based on their preferences and aspirations. Not simply the University that provides athletes with an offer first. FiveZero describes itself as ‘The Home of the Brave’ and we put in the time and effort to understand each student athlete, and exactly what they are looking for from their scholarship experience so that your bravery can flourish.