America, the land of opportunity. The land were dreams come true. You can have dreams in your sport and academically as well. America is the platform where you can go for both ambitions and give it all the full 100%. In the Netherlands however, it can be quite difficult to combine your sport with a MBO, HBO or university education. In the States they do this a lot different, which makes you dreams possible!

This is not the only opportunity America has to offer. In the Netherlands you can not go to a university after graduating from HAVO, in America you can! Like we said: the land of opportunity. Are you curious about how this looks? Keep reading!

America after HAVO

In the Netherlands it is not possible to go to a university right after you graduate HAVO. The only was is by graduating from VWO or finishing your first year of HBO. Luckily, this is not the case in the United States! They do not distinguish HAVO and VWO from each other. This means you can go to a university right after graduating from HAVO. This way, you can go for the best results in sports and studies at the same time!

Student-athlete graduation

Naturally, the level of education needs to fit you in the best way possible. Luckily you have enough to choose from in America. The university’s academic levels can vary from MBO, HBO and WO levels of education. With more than 2000 universities, there should be a school that fits your athletic wishes as well as your academics. You can look at all of them, right here.

When you have found the perfect university, you are going to have the time of your life. Besides combining your sport and studies, America has a lot more to offer you. You are going to meet a lot of new people, you wil travel, learn English en much more!

Do you want to combine sports and study in America after you graduate from HAVO? Let’s meet!

Sophie Groen’s experience

After she graduated HAVO, Slamstox tennis player Sophie Groen left the Netherlands to play college tennis in the United States. In January 2021 she joined the team of Bemidji State University. Below you can read all about her choice to go there and all her adventures since then.

Sophie Groen – Bemidji State Tennis

Sophie had no idea what she wanted to do after graduating HAVO. The only thing she did know was that she wanted to keep playing tennis no matter what. When you graduate HAVO, you are between 16 and 18 years old, which is quite young. No wonder Sophie had no idea what education she wanted to do next. And then she found out that the first year at an American university is really all round and general. You can take many different subjects and find you what you like. After your first year, you can hopefully make a good choice what you want to specialize in. For Sophie, this was the perfect solution and she went for it!

The proces to go to America

After she decided she wanted to go to America, Sophie started her proces with Slamstox. Time to find a school that fits her perfectly. After many messages, emails and phone calls between Sophie, Pedro and different universities, there was only one that was Sophie’s favorite: Bemidji State University. She has never regretted it, look at the fun she is having!

Do you want to know more about the whole proces or anything else about sports and studies in America? Go to our FAQ page, where we can answer some of your question.


The only thing Sophie wanted was to keep playing tennis after graduating. Preferably to combine it with an education. And so she did! At Bemidji State, she can focus on her studies without losing tennis hours because of it. She chose a university that fits her academic level, making it very manageable. This is what Sophie has said about it:

Life in the United States

Sophie got used to her new life in America really quickly and switching to the English language was easier than expected. The only thing she is still struggling with a bit is the pronunciation of the ‘TH’ in three and mother. The American students actually like it and are very interested in foreign students. They will probably ask you to teach them a bit of your own language too! So if English was not your best subject in high school? Don’t worry, you are going to be fine!

Besides the language and culture you will also meet a lot of new people. A lot of the time you will spend with your team, but basically all student-athlete are a pretty tight group. Sophie for example, is great friends with the baseball, softball and football team as well. When she has some time off she will mostly spend it with them and sometimes they take cool trips for example.

Do you want to know more about Sophie’s choice to be a student-athlete in America or what she thinks so far? You can read her entire interview over here!

As you can read, Sophie is having a great time in the US. The choice to go there after graduating from HAVO was a perfect choice! Do you think this adventure fits you too? Get in contact with us and we will look at your possibilities to make it come true!