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How do I get a rowing scholarship in America?

If you are aged between 18-24, in education or have been in the last 2 years and have a clean criminal record whilst rowing at a competitive level, you are well positioned to become a successful U.S Sports Scholarship applicant. However, only the best young rowers will be considered for a rowing scholarship by coaches so ideally you need to be rowing at the highest level in your region or nationally.

There are over 150 women’s and 75 men’s rowing programs in American college sport. It is one of the most competitive sporting environments at the collegiate level and regarded by most amateurs as the premier environment to develop your performance. Rowing is a highly competitive sport for obtaining a scholarship, with coaches looking for internationally experienced players.

U.S Sports Scholarships is like no other service provider in the world in that we only offer 50 places on our recruitment programme each year to ensure that every single rower receives the necessary time and personal attention to take them through the complex process of finding a suitable school in America; helping them secure the best possible financial package. To help achieve this, each student-athlete is assigned their own designated representative who is with them every step of the way. If you think you have what it takes to play and study in the USA on a rowing scholarship, please complete our free online application now.

To find out more about the rowing scholarship process, fill out our form and a U.S Sports Scholarships consultant will be in touch to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can register for one of our UK Rowing Information Days where our expert team will deliver a detailed presentation that will provide you with information on the entire process and how we can help you with securing a rowing scholarship. If this is of interest please complete our free online application now.


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Top Frequently Asked Questions

 Below we have given you the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about securing a rowing scholarship in America.

1. What are Rowing Scholarships?

An athletic rowing scholarship is a form of scholarship to attend a U.S college or university awarded to an individual based on their academic and athletic capabilities. A rowing scholarship can cover anywhere between 0-100% of costs and these offers are authorised by the coaches at American colleges/universities. Earning a rowing scholarship will allow you the opportunity to pursue both an academic and tennis career simultaneously. This means that you will be studying for a university degree in a subject of your choice whilst training and competing at an elite level, similar to that of professional rowers.

2. How Can I Get a Rowing Scholarship?

To secure a rowing scholarship, you need to showcase exceptional rowing skills and academic achievements. Start by researching colleges with strong rowing programs that offer scholarships. Then, reach out to the coaches, express your interest, and provide them with your rowing credentials, such as race times, ergometer scores, and videos of your performance. Additionally, maintain good grades and prepare for standardised tests to enhance your academic profile.

Women’s rowing is an equivalency sport so partial scholarships can be awarded in any proportion to meet the limit per school; for example, an NCAA Division I team can award 40 rowers each a 1/2 scholarship and not exceed the NCAA school limit of 20.

Even though it’s the oldest intercollegiate sport in the United States, men’s rowing has never been an official NCAA sport. The Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) is the governing body for varsity Men’s programs while the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA)  is the governing body for club teams and teams not competing under NCAA or IRA governance.

3. What Are College Rowing Programs Looking For?

College rowing programs seek athletes who not only possess exceptional rowing abilities but also demonstrate dedication, teamwork, and coachability. Coaches look for athletes who can contribute to the team’s success both on and off the water. Academic performance is also crucial, as colleges aim to recruit student-athletes who can excel in both athletics and academics.

4. Do I Need Prior Rowing Experience to Get a Scholarship?

While prior rowing experience is beneficial, it is not always mandatory to receive a scholarship. Many college rowing programs offer opportunities for novice rowers to join and develop their skills. If you are passionate about rowing and demonstrate potential, coaches may consider offering you a scholarship based on your commitment and progress.

5. How Competitive Are Rowing Scholarships?

Rowing scholarships can be highly competitive, especially at prestigious collegiate rowing programs. These programs receive numerous applications from talented athletes across the country and even internationally. To increase your chances of securing a scholarship, focus on improving your rowing skills, maintaining strong academic performance, and actively reaching out to coaches to express your interest.

6. Can International Students Get Rowing Scholarships?

Yes, international students are eligible for rowing scholarships at American colleges and universities. Many institutions actively recruit rowers from around the world to enhance the diversity and competitiveness of their teams. International students should follow the same process as domestic students, including researching programs, contacting coaches, and fulfilling academic requirements.

7. What Types of Rowing Scholarships Are Available?

Rowing scholarships can vary in terms of the amount of financial aid offered and the duration of the award. Some scholarships cover full tuition and expenses, while others may offer partial funding. Additionally, scholarships may be renewable for multiple years or awarded on a yearly basis, depending on the college’s policies and the athlete’s performance.

8. Can Rowing Scholarships Be Combined with Academic Scholarships?

In many cases, rowing scholarships can be combined with academic scholarships and other forms of financial aid. Colleges and universities typically have policies in place regarding the stacking of scholarships, and it’s advisable to consult with the financial aid office for clarification. By leveraging both athletic and academic achievements, student-athletes can maximise their scholarship opportunities.

9. What Are the Responsibilities of Rowing Scholarship Recipients?

Rowing scholarship recipients are expected to maintain a balance between their academic and athletic commitments. This includes attending all rowing practices, competitions, and team events, while also meeting academic requirements and progressing towards their degree. Additionally, scholarship recipients represent their college or university both on and off the water and are expected to uphold the institution’s values and standards.

10. How Do I Stand Out to College Rowing Coaches?

To stand out to college rowing coaches, focus on developing your rowing skills, maintaining excellent academic performance, and showcasing your dedication and passion for the sport. Attend rowing camps and clinics, participate in regattas, and actively engage with coaches. Highlight your achievements, leadership qualities, and willingness to contribute to the team’s success in your communications with coaches Securing a rowing scholarship at an American college requires dedication, perseverance, and a strategic approach. By focusing on both athletic and academic excellence, aspiring student-athletes can increase their chances of receiving financial aid and pursuing their collegiate rowing dreams.

11. What is the size of a college rowing roster?

The size of an American college rowing team can vary significantly depending on the institution, the level of competition, and the resources available. However, on average, college rowing teams typically range from around 30 to 60 athletes. At larger universities with well-established rowing programs, the teams tend to be larger, sometimes exceeding 100 athletes. These programs often have multiple squads, including varsity, junior varsity (JV), and novice teams, allowing them to accommodate a larger number of rowers while maintaining competitive standards. Smaller colleges or those with less prominent rowing programs may have more modestly sized teams, with around 20 to 30 athletes. These teams may have fewer resources but still provide valuable opportunities for student-athletes to compete and develop their skills. Overall, the size of a college rowing team is influenced by factors such as the program’s history, facilities, coaching staff, and recruitment efforts. Regardless of size, each member plays a crucial role in contributing to the team’s success both on and off the water.

12. When does the rowing season take place?

The American college rowing season typically consists of two main seasons: the fall season and the spring season.
Fall Season: The fall season, also known as the “head race” season, usually begins in late August or early September and extends through November. During this season, teams compete in longer-distance races, typically ranging from 5,000 to 6,000 meters. Head races are often held on rivers or lakes and emphasize endurance and strategy rather than sprinting speed. This season provides an opportunity for athletes to build base fitness, refine technique, and develop teamwork before the more intense spring racing season.
Spring Season: The spring season is the primary competitive season for college rowing and typically runs from late February or early March through May or June. This season features shorter-distance races, typically 2,000 meters in length, which are held on buoyed courses. The spring season culminates in championship regattas, including conference championships and national championships such as the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championship for men’s rowing and the NCAA Rowing Championships for women’s rowing. These regattas determine the top collegiate rowing teams and individual performers in the country.

13. What determines how much scholarship I get in the USA?

Your scholarship will depend on many factors including your playing ability and academic standing, as well as your coaches assigned budget for the season. However, don’t worry it is our job to ensure that we find you an American college which best suits your preferences and capabilities. If, for example, a university costs $50,000 a year all in and the coach is giving you a scholarship worth $42,000, then this is a partial scholarship as there is a $8,000 shortfall that the coach wants you to contribute towards the costs of attending the university. Most partial scholarships come with the incentive that if you perform well, both on the court and in the classroom, then the coach can reward you with a scholarship increase and cover any costs that you had been contributing towards.

Lucy received a full scholarship to UCLA and rowed five seat in the Bruins’ V8+ crew. She studied Transformative Coaching and was recognised as a CRCA Scholar-Athlete.



Our co-founder Liam oversees our rowing programme in collaboration with Lucy. Liam has unrivalled experience having successfully placed over 500 athletes at U.S schools in the past 10 years.


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How do I find out more about U.S Rowing Scholarships?

To find out more about the rowing scholarship process, fill out our form and a U.S Sports Scholarships consultant will be in touch to answer any questions you may have. If this is of interest please complete our free online application now.

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