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University dream comes true

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Jakub Ševčík a 19 years old student from a village called Lúka, in Slovakia, studied at a sports grammar school in Trnava. He hasn't always known he wanted to study in the U.S. However when he found out he had a chance to gain from his passion for tennis, he didn't hesitate and fought for his future.

My dream of attending university in the US started 6 years ago when I first heard there was a possibility to combine education with tennis. With this in mind, in the region of my junior year at high school, I started to reach out to girls and boys who were already studying in the United States. Simply, I contacted everyone who has some experience in this area. I was asking them about their journey and most of all, the way they get there. In my case, when I am a tennis player and was playing in international tournaments, scholarship agencies started reaching out as well. Although they provide good services and information I decided to reach universities and tennis coaches on my own. It was because these services are too expensive in my opinion and I dared to fulfill my dream by myself. The most significant role in all my process of getting to an university in the US played my neighbor and friend who was teaching at the US university and came back to my home village for her retirement. You can also call it a miracle that fell from heaven! I took most advice from her. Her recommendation was firstly to go to a 2-year college, also called junior college, and then transfer to a 4-year university to finish the other 2 years. The whole process for international newcomers is much smoother in comparison with 4-year universities. The classes are more personalized but still, they provide the same quality education like on a common 4-year university. In addition, the junior colleges are generally more affordable. So after gaining this information, I made a list of junior colleges which have a tennis team and offer the program of study I am interested in. The names of junior colleges are easy to find on the internet. After finishing this list I found emails of schools and tennis coaches. I prepared something like an introduction email with information about me and sent it to everyone I was interested in.

This could very much be the most important step: nothing can go wrong if you reach out and just ask people who can help you. Getting first-hand information, making contacts, and showing your genuine interest is always useful.

When schools and coaches replied to me I had calls with them. During the calls, they also told me what are their requirements for admission. Generally, to be admitted to a junior college you need to pass whatever English proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS, DUOLINGO) on a certain level. Moreover, you need to submit translated transcripts from your high school studies and the translation of your final transcript of maturita as well. The last recommendation from me is: When you know a person who is an alumni (former student) of the college/university you trying to be part of, do not hesitate to reach him! Ask them to submit a recommendation letter for you! It can enhance your chances of being considered for admission. Good luck and see you in the US!


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