Location, Location, Location - USA Athletics Scholarships

Location, Location, Location

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It may sound like a cliché, but location is everything when it comes to selecting the right university and making the most of your collegiate experience/athletics scholarship. America is as much a continent as Europe. Each state has its own identity, climate and idiosyncrasies. Many of those who return to the UK with less than favourable opinions of the NCAA often are victims of their own making.  Packing up and heading off for four years without being able to point to the school on a map, much less explain its climate and culture is destined to end only one way.

Climate

On any given day in the US you could find somewhere where it is sunny, raining, snowing, windy, still, or just British like and overcast. The climate will vary hugely across the states and in some areas it can be very different from the UK.

All of the site’s contributors were based in the mid-West, an area synonymous with its harsh winters, hot and humid summers and ‘four seasons in one day’. We have had experiences of running shirtless in 30 degrees one day, and the day after orchestrating a snowball fight. It is known to rain a lot in the Pacific North West states of Oregon and Washington, so if you are looking to get away from the British weather, then these may not be your best options. In contrast, places like Florida or Southern California will never really get too cold and remain warm year-round.

Altitude

Mountain life is also a possibility, and this will be discussed in more detail on the altitude article. Although living at altitude is covered in greater detail elsewhere on the site, we would reiterate that it must also be factored into your decision making. Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona, Idaho, Montana and Utah are host to the majority of schools at altitude.

Culture

Culture varies hugely from coast to coast. From the energetic east to the laid-back west you’ll find a myriad of different cultures along the way. If you seek a fast-paced, hundred mile an hour type experience, then New York City will be a better choice than Fargo, North Dakota. Similarly, if you are looking for a relaxed and quiet time, then taking a place at a large Californian state school may not appeal. Just as each region has its own identity, each school will too. They vary from large, ‘party schools’ more in keeping with American Pie, to reserved and religious arts schools. Every school will offer a unique experience.

One aspect of culture that is of utmost importance to any aspiring athlete is food. By-in-large, the biggest thing that Brits miss during their experience is the food. It may seem innocuous, but simple things as a drought of Robinson’s squash and Cadbury’s at the supermarket and the lack of decent restaurants can have an impact.  Each state will also have their own cuisine heavily influenced through their origins (New Mexico’s Mexican food/Maine’s seafood). However, nationwide one thing is for sure, you will be much more susceptible to fast-food. It’s everywhere.

Useful Tool

An excellent resource for checking out locations of prospective universities is to use this link. It has a geographial break down of all conferences and their respective member schools.

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