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In one ball from a dream: how squash helps to enter the best universities in the world

To enter the prestigious universities of the USA and England with a worldwide reputation is not such a daunting task as it seems at first glance. In some cases, sports help to get into a dream university. A conversation about one of these stories was broadcast by the Russian Squash Federation.

A young athlete Yulia Zhukovets , thanks to her achievements in squash, managed to enter Yale, one of the eight oldest American universities, which is included in Ivy League. She occupies the first line of the Junior U19 rating in Ukraine, is in the top 4 best women squash players in Ukraine and in the top 13 in Europe. Contrary to some stereotypes, sporting achievements not only did not prevent the girl from continuing her education, but also pushed her to new heights.

Although at first glance Julia's arrival may seem like a chain of happy accidents, all the events in her life are the result perseverance and dedication to sports. The girl found out about the possibility of admission abroad with the help of squash only in the 11th grade, which is why she had to take a year's break from her studies. It took time to find a university that would accept an international student based on athletic performance.

Nadine Arseniev , founder of the American squash club Squash on Fire, notes that various US universities are interested in different sports. For example, the University of Texas has strong American football and rowing teams. While squash is interesting for universities like Yale, where there is a close-knit team of players with a good reputation.

At the same time, only 50 universities offer places for squash girls, for boys this number is double.

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How are athletes selected for admission?

In search of talented athletes, university recruiters often visit major championships, where the best are selected. However, this is not the only way. Julia was able to enter without their help. Although the level of training of the applicant, which is assessed by the match recording, plays an important role, sports achievements are not the only criterion for selection.

The rating of an applicant is made up of several indicators: academic grades, regular and successful performances in championships are important, and besides In addition, games for the national team are counted. Yulia Zhukovets notes that often the results at large tournaments are more important than membership in the national team of their native country - the university cannot always objectively assess its level.

According to Yulia, the most difficult thing is to find a university that is ready to offer a sports scholarship to a foreign student.After all, higher education in the United States requires really large investments: the cost of an annual education is about $ 80,000. And in the case of a sports career, money is also needed to participate in tournaments.

Before entering, the girl spent about $ 40,000 on travel and training. The actual training at Yale for four years costs $ 320,000. However, if a junior is in the top of his university, he receives grants and discounts and does not pay the full cost for either court rent or coach services.

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How do I get a sports scholarship for training?

There are several ways. The degree of financial support depends on the level of income of the university itself. Some educational institutions provide grants to foreign students, in others the amount of financial assistance is determined based on the student's family budget. Also, money can be issued as a reward for academic or sporting achievements. For example, for playing squash, a scholarship can be obtained at three universities: Stanford, Drake University and George Washington University. The team players of these universities regularly receive payments as long as they continue to participate in the matches. If a student drops out due to injury or other reasons, the scholarship will not be paid.

On the website of the University Squash Association, you can find out the rating of universities and find contacts of coaches in order to interact with them directly. In the letter, the applicant must tell about his sports rating and academic success, indicate the tournaments in which he participated, and attach recommendations. Julia advises to start sending letters two years before admission.

Of course, this requires a high level of English proficiency, confirmed by an international certificate. American universities require the results of ACT exams (about 1250-1300 points out of 1600 will be enough), SAT (1250-1400 points) and TOEFL (at least 100 points out of 120 for Ivy League universities, for other institutions, as a rule, 85-90 points are enough ).

Is it possible to combine university studies and professional sports?

The ability to combine studies and play for the national team largely depends on the dates of the European Championship. Sometimes competitions can coincide with exams - in this case you have to choose, but, in general, you can even find time for playing for the national team. And after university it is quite possible to build a career in professional sports.

According to Julia, athletes very much appreciated on campus. Being a student of a prestigious university is already not easy, and when the morning and evening are busy with training, and weekends are with trips to tournaments, to studentsadditional load falls. And playing for a university team is a completely different level of responsibility.

However, even brilliant successes in sports do not negate the fact that students need to study well, especially at Ivy League universities. Sport is a deliberate choice, but not at all a reason for indulgence.

Everyone's daily routine student athlete depends on his personal goals - whether he trains only with the team or on his own. During the first semester, Julia's weekday looked like this: wake up at 7:00, personal training at 8:00, then tomorrow and lessons until 14:00, after - the second training, squash and stretching.

Yulia: During the competition it was very difficult to leave for the weekend, because no one canceled homework, and you go on the bus all day, you arrive only in the evening of Sunday, and on Monday you have to go back to lessons. But away games are great inspiration.

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Where to send a child to squash?

Teach a professional trainer will help you to play squash. First of all, you should contact the squash club in your city. If there is none, it will be much more difficult, but for those who wish, they will surely find a way out in any situation.

If you are a resident of the capital, you can take a shortcut to the best English universities at the British Squash Academy. Children train there under the supervision of not only Russian, but also foreign instructors, which means the chances of continuing their studies abroad are significantly increased.

Great achievements require great returns, but there are no unconquerable heights. If your goal is clear, finding the means to achieve it will not be so difficult, the main thing is to really want it.

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