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Sport in US Colleges

US College

US College for the student athlete:

Continuing your education is the US College system offers a range of benefits:

  • (Soft) immersion in another culture.  The US is similar enough to Australia not to be 'foreign', but different enough to be interesting, and offer exciting new challenges for students.
  • High level sporting experience, whilst still accommodating high level academics.  In Australia, the University system and elite sport rarely acknowledge each other, let alone accommodate each other.  When playing for a US College, student-athletes are not allowed to participate unless they achieve a minimum grade point average.  Teams will ensure their athletes are attending and passing classes, or they are not allowed to play sport.  Many teams also have tutors and set study times for their athletes or order to help them meet the academic requirements of their degree.
  • The end result, most importantly, is a tertiary degree.

There are a number of different options available

  • National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Divisions 1, 2 & 3 (4-year colleges)
  • National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Divisions 1&2 (4-year colleges)
  • National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) (2-year colleges)

Here is how Colleges are given their division rating

Basically speaking, the higher the division, the higher the standard, and the larger the amount of money available for scholarships.

In descending order of standard:


Scholarships will vary with each institution.  NCAA D3 does not offer sporting scholarships, but there are plenty of academic scholarships available.

Academic eligibility

In order to be considered for an NCAA D1 scholarship, students need to complete a minimum amount of core academic subjects in years 9-12 of Australian school.

This amounts to 16 core units over the final four years of high school - or an average of four full-year core subjects per year.

What are core subjects?

At Trinity College there are a number of options (highlighted in the attached document):

  • Years 9/10 - English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Languages. (Nothing else)
  • Importantly, practical subjects like PE, Tech, Outdoor Ed etc are NOT considered core subjects, and therefore do not count toward your 16 Core units.

Minimum GPA (Grade Point Average)

In order to be eligible for all US College options, you need to maintain a minimum 2.2 GPA.
For Australian students, this means maintaining a C+ average in the core subjects.

What does this mean for you?

  • Every mark you get from year nine onwards in your core classes matters
  • Make sure you are always doing enough classes to achieve your 16 core units.  (An excellent option is maintaining a language in year 10)

Can you still get to College without the Core Unit requirement?

Yes, but your options become more limited.  Junior Colleges have lower entry requirements, but are still an excellent option for those who struggle academically, or have not taken the right high school classes.

What are Junior Colleges?

  • Basically the same thing as a four-year college, except it's two years.
  • Most of the units you take will transfer to a four-year college.
  • Many students will enrol in a Junior College,  hope to be offered a scholarship for their remaining two years at a four-year institution.

Note:  The absolute first priority is passing your SACE.  If you are working too hard to maintain a GPA in subjects that are simply too difficult, you will not only not be eligible for US College, you will not pass your SACE.

Getting started
By the end of year 10:

  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Centre and the NAIA Clearing House.  There are fees payable.
  • start taping your games, and get a 3min highlight package together
  • Get yourself seen, either via the internet, or US tours

End of year 11: 

  • Start taking the SAT Tests

What are the SAT Tests?

  • The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a standardised US College entry test.
  • Students intending to attend US College must take it
  • Your score on the test will determine your eligibility for various Colleges, as well as various academic scholarships.
  • You can take it as many times as you like
  • There are practice exams and typical questions online - the sooner your register, the snooner you can start accessing helpful information.

Trinity is a registered SAT testing centre.

We have two tests each year - December and May

Register here:

When asked about high school codes and testing centre codes, use the following:

  • High School code:  700623 (TRINITY COLLEGE GAWLER)
  • Test Centre Code:  87210
  • Country Code:  020 (AUSTRALIA)

When signing up, you will need to have a digital photo ready to go.  It needs to be just of you.  If you would like to use your school photo, then please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. asap. (Trinity students only)

You will also need credit card details.  The cost of the test is around $90.  $55 for the test and $35 because we're international.

More information:
What to write in an email to College coaches

Trinity information session, April 11, 2018

Alexander Avenue
Evanston South SA 5116
tel: (08) 8522 0666
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / FIND US