devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

USA Scholarships

This page is to help volleyball players learn how to apply for a volleyball scholarship

This page has been prepared by devo’s volleyball blogger Bvando.

You can contact Bvando via the CONTACT DEVO’S tag at the top of the page.

So you want to play volleyball in the USA. You want a scholarship. But do you meet these basic requirements?

What US coaches are looking for? They are looking for the same things that coaches all over the world are looking for, the same things that Australian coaches are looking for. But you need to keep in mind that once an American coach begins to look overseas, the international pool of talent is HUGE. An Australian player will have to favourably compare herself with, for example, an outstanding player in Shanghai, China or someone from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

1. ATHLETIC ABILITY . . . I want front row players who come in with around a 9′ 10″ approach jump . . . young women that I can develop into big jumpers, capable of reaching above the rim of a basketball hoop (which is 10′).

2. VOLLEYBALL SKILLS . . . players have to have mastered the basic skills to an exceptional level.

3. COMPETITIVENESS AND GAME INTELLIGENCE . . . players have to be smart and to play smart. I look for players who make few mistakes on the court, I am looking for young women who know how to win, what we call in America “gamers”– the people who everybody turns to when the game is on the line.

4. PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS . . . players have to be disciplined. American coaches do not like going to all the trouble of bringing someone in from overseas, and then discover that this athlete is what we refer to as “high maintenance”, someone who is always causing problems or is always in trouble of some sort or another.

Why do you want a scholarship?

  • Academic
  • Volleyball
  • Life Experience
  • Financial Gain
  • A combination of some or all of the above

ACADEMICS: Some look for academics. If you were going to university in Australia you could combine volleyball with academics, but universities do not consider representative sporting commitments as a priority. Be warned, some USA universities will only allow players to complete lower level courses due to the need to be focused on volleyball. I have had players who wanted to do PE teaching but have not been allowed to enter this course and have ended up personal trainers instead.

VOLLEYBALL: Some players want to go to the USA to play volleyball; academics are secondary. There are many great programs, but there are some very poor programs. Research needs to done. You need to look at how good you are and how good the program is, and whether it will suit what you want. If the program is very low level you might be the best player; so you play a lot, but you do not develop. If the program is very high, you might find the stress of being on the bench for a few years not what you were after. You need to look hard at the program and hard at yourself to figure where you want to be.

LIFE EXPERIENCE: All players I have sent (except two) have enjoyed the experience of being in a foreign country doing exciting things. Two girls did not enjoy the experience for the following reasons:

  1. could not leave the boyfriend and was back in a week. She should never have gone.
  2. was the key player of the team and the stress of being the import, and the need to perform all the time was too much.

FINANCIAL GAIN: There is no hex fee on return to Australia. But be warned, you will need to pay for travel to and from the USA and day to day expenses. Most girls get a university job to make some money, but full time work will be out of the question. Some universities, within the rules, are more generous than others.

What is a scholarship and what does it involve?

A scholarship is where a university or college is willing to pay your costs in order to have you representing their team and studying at their institution. gives a lot of information to download and read.

A full scholarship can involve the university/college paying the following on your behalf:

  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • All books
  • All tuition and university/college fees.
  • All training equipment
  • All coaching and training
  • Travel expenses when competing (travel, accommodation, meals)
  • All uniforms and training clothes including shoes & accessories

What do you need to do now?

  • Start thinking about collecting video evidence. An unedited video of game play; video of individual skills; and a very short personal talk.
  • Write a resume
  • Approach your coach to write an introductory email letter for you
  • Start doing paperwork: clearinghouse etc
  • Enrol for Sat or ATC test.

The best time to start this is in year 10 – 11. This will give you more options.

Step 1: Prepare the videos

I have found that the most important things to do before you email to universities is to have video footage completed and a resume written. Usually, as soon as you write to a university, they will reply with, “Do you have any footage ?” So get it ready.

You will need video on the web. Most internet accounts have space you can use, or ask your school to load the videos up for you onto the school site. You need three videos:

  • an introduction to you
  • a demonstation of your skills
  • some unedited game play

If the video examples below do not load, try hitting the reload button.


A small video – no more than 5 minutes – on who you are. Why do you want to go to the USA?


Skills video should show your volleyball skills in isolation and within a game context. This video must be edited to make sure the skills are correct.

A video that did not use match footage. There is no need to use music, I just like it. I’m not sure about USA coaches, but this girl got 20 offers and 2 free trips over to the USA to have a look. She ended up in New York.

A skill video that has been cut from 130MB to about 34MB. Skills are edited along the way, and playing footage is added.

A skill video that has been cut from 130MB to about 14 MB. Skills are edited along the way, and playing footage is added.


You need to send unedited game play: It does not have to be a set of volleyball that you win. It needs to show mistakes under pressure. It needs to show you on court most of the set.

Step 2: Prepare the introductory email letter

Your first letter to the university needs to come from your coach. You get more replies back, and sooner. Universities are not able to talk to players until June. But they can talk to coaches! I usually have in this first letter a link to footage that they can click on instantly and watch.


The letter is best addressed personally, even though you may send hundreds of emails. You can copy and paste most of the email letter, but do personalise the address. You will need to do a little research to find out who is the coach of the team. All this information will be on the college web site. Include a resume. Include a link to your videos.

example letter from your coach

example resume

Step 3: Paperwork


What is a clearing House? The clearing house is the centre that looks at all your high school results and decided ( clears ) you to be able to play.

There are two measures of eligibility:

  • The first is “amateurism”: players cannot be professional, nor have ever accepted money to play.
  • The second is “academic”: players have to have at least a 820 SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) score.

From year 9 – year 12: 16 subjects for NCAA Div 1 – other divisions and associations have different rules:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of Mathematics (Algebra I or higher)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (one must be a lab science)
  • 1 year of additional English, Math or Science
  • 2 years of Social Studies
  • 4 years of additional core courses (from any area listed above, or from foreign language, nondoctrinal religion or philosophy)

All of these classes have to be certified by the NCAA’s Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse. Every international player has to pay a fee and sign up for the Clearinghouse, and they have to take the SAT test.


Don’t leave these to the last moment.

  • Passport
  • Student Visa

Step 4: Sit SAT or ATC test

You can do the USA exam in all capital cities in Australia . It is best to do it at the end of year 11.

Step 5: Give me some feed back

And finally …

You can contact Bvando by leaving a message: click here

One Response to “USA Scholarships”

  1. This information is terrific! agree on the “No need for music”. anyone who has to watch a lot of videos as part of their job turns the volume off.

    The human attention span suggests people nod off after a video goes longer than 4 mins online. if you have any videos up on youtube, there’s a neat function that graphs which parts of your video people nod off (compared to the average video that length), and which bits are “hot” where people rewind, replay and pause etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: