Empowering Athletes for a Life Without Limits

Finding and being recruited to your dream school is tough for any student-athlete. However, as an international student with eyes on pursuing an education in North America, this becomes even tougher.

But tougher doesn’t mean impossible!

In this article, we will go over everything an international student-athlete needs to know about track and field recruiting in the USA and Canada.

Are you just starting to think about studying abroad? Get caught up with the basics of studying and competing in North America 👇
How-to: A Guide to Applying to University and College in North America
College recruiting can be confusing. Read on to learn about your options for university, both academically and athletically, how to apply to university and important dates to keep in mind.

Now let's get started!

How do you find the right program?

Research! Research! Research!

Whether you’re lucky enough to be scouted by a coach or still waiting for your first call it’s extremely important to explore your options. There are over 1700 track and field and cross country programs for you to explore. You’re bound to find the right fit for your athletic and academic needs!

These programs are broken down into different associations and conferences each with a different student experience and level of competitiveness. They are:

  • NCAA
  • NAIA
  • CCAA
  • NWAC

This may feel like a lot, but don’t let that discourage you. To narrow down what association you’d like to study and compete in, learn more about your options here.

Once you figure out what association you want to compete in the next step is to find a school. You should make a list of factors most important to you (i.e, academics, athletics, social, location, financial, etc.). Once you’re done, it’s time to shortlist schools you’re interested in. You can find every track and field/XC program here.

At the start don’t be afraid to cast your net wide and look at a bunch of schools. As you look deeper into each college and athletic program, some will shine while others will get cut from the list.

Below we’ve listed some pro tips to use when researching schools.

Back to School Essentials
Photo by Matt Ragland / Unsplash

Talk to current athletes

No one can speak to the student life and athletic program better than current students. Talking with them can give you a first-hand understanding of the coach-athlete relationship, how effective the training program is, the day-to-day life of a student and more. These students have already been in your position before and are usually happy to advise and help you through the process. You can easily find these athletes on the school’s roster and on social media.

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Look at athlete development

It’s one thing to hear about the program but it’s another to see it in action. Find former athletes who competed in the same events as you on the schools website and look at their progression during the program. You can do this by searching up old meet results and seeing how much they improved year over year, a site like TFRRS is a great tool to look at athlete progression. The success of former athletes is a good indication of the effectiveness of the program and what you can expect to achieve.

Brainstorming over paper
Photo by Scott Graham / Unsplash

Talk with Coaches

Ask about their training approach

Each coach has a different methodology for their training program. Speaking with them directly helps you understand their program philosophy and what you would expect in each year of the program. Additionally, by taking this direct approach you will build a relationship and see if the coach-athlete relationship is a fit. Through this process, you will start to understand the key benefits each program can offer you and start to compare each school by what meets your needs.

Home Visitation

As an international student, your needs differ from domestic athletes, you’re moving far away from home and this can be an adjustment, you generally don’t have the luxury to go home for a long weekend. So it’s important to understand how many opportunities you have to travel home during the season/off-season, finding out you may not be able to travel home for an extended period of time once you’ve already committed to a program can make an adjustment period difficult. Set yourself up for success.

Other International Students

Moving to a different country with a different culture and maybe even a different language can be daunting. Ask your coaches if there are any current international students in the program. Connecting with these athletes will help you understand what parts of their transition were hard. Who knows you may even make a connection with someone from the same country!

Photo by Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

Be proactive

Coaches are extremely busy. Their first priority is running their program and often have very little time to dedicate to finding athletes, that’s why it’s extremely important to take the initiative and be the first one to make contact.

Contacting a collegiate coach at an athletic program you’re interested in can be your first step towards your journey to recruitment and is a great way to show a program you’ve done your research and see a potential fit.

It’s important to note that for many North American schools, coaches can’t contact you until your grade 11 year. However, there is nothing stopping you from reaching out to them if you want to be considered in the future! Lucky for you, your Streamline Athletes profile makes it easy to request contact with a coach and sends your complete athlete profile so they can see you’re an ideal candidate for their program.


Standardized Academic Testing

Academics are just as important as athletics. Coaches want to know that you meet the academic requirements and won’t struggle through school. However, this can sometimes be difficult for international students as every country uses a different education and grading system. This is often done through standardized tests:

Here are some of the major tests you might need to consider taking:

  • SAT Score - four-year programs in the US will require prospective students to have an SAT score. If you already have a score, awesome! If not they only offer these tests a few times a year you can find the next available test near you here.
  • ACT Score - two-year programs in the US will require prospective students to have an ACT score. Similar to SAT’s you can find the next available test here.
  • TOEFL Score - A TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, is a standardized test that measures the English proficiency of non-native English speakers who are looking to enroll in English-speaking universities. Register for the test here.

Grade Conversion

Although standardized tests can be helpful with proving academics, coaches may also want an estimate of your grade.  In North America, the most commonly used grading schemes are GPA and percentages. When talking with coaches you should make a rough but honest estimation of your academic standing. A great way to do this is by using an international grade calculator. Check out our favourite here.

Athletic Standards

Although grades are important, your athletic performances are what will make you an attractive prospective college recruit. Each country and local sports organization have different approaches to recording events; Athletic.net, Milesplit, Trackie are some of the most common event results sites in North America. Often youtube videos and unofficial results aren’t enough, finding your local equivalent is important in proving to coaches your athletic ability.

If you have unofficial results, like a YouTube video, you can still include them in the recruiting process to show progress, form and technique. On your Streamline Athletes profile these can be linked in the bottom of your profile in the “From you” section.

Streamline Athletes is here for you!

Being an international student can make navigating recruitment more difficult. Streamline Athletes is here to help. You can use our platform to research all 1700+ programs in North America, start conversations with desired schools, and be contacted by coaches for more collegiate opportunities.

You can create a FREE athlete profile on our platform and add all the necessary information that recruiting staff needs to see like athletic performances, academic information, training history and a personal statement. From there you can shortlist schools and kickstart your recruitment by contacting any school you’re interested in. Sign-up today!


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