Shooting Sport and Choosing the Right University
Joining university was something I had dreamt of for as long as I could remember… but it wasn’t as easy as it seemed! For me, the decision was even tougher as I am a sportsman and my sport is not something that every university offers – Double Trap Shooting. Some just hearing that I would be bringing a gun to university, stopped replying to my emails!
However, that aside there were many that were welcoming and even offering scholarships. Being pragmatic by nature, I weighed all the consequences; the academic standards, the student staff ratio, internships being offered and obviously the fee structure along with accessibility to training facilities, coaches and competitions.
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I started my research about a year in advance by speaking to competitors from different countries and understanding which universities support sport and specifically shooting. Having been on the junior Indian shooting team for 2 years helped in making friends of all nationalities and I was able to connect with students across different universities that were shooting competitively as well. This helped give me an insider’s view as to how feasible it would be to balance both my studies and sport.
Simultaneously my father – an Olympic shooter himself – was speaking to coaches in the US, UK & Canada to ascertain where I could keep my training going smoothly. This helped bring my country choices down to the US & UK. What worked for the UK was its tradition with the sport and the number of shooting facilities that were available across the country. The easy connections to Europe where most of the competitions in my event are held also added to the appeal.
Once the choice of country was made, for me there was no better place that the University of St. Andrews. I had already established contact with their sports department and the shooting captain and liked everything I heard. The fact that there was a university shooting team and they were all dying me have them join them, made it even better. Academically, the university was ranked extremely well and I loved the history and tradition that was attached to the university. Some of my seniors from school were already studying there and hearing of the close-knit community, the multi-cultural student body and the study patterns made me want to be part of the institution.
The icing on the cake was when I was awarded 3 scholarships by the university including the prestigious sports scholarship which was awarded to only 10 elite sportspersons out of the total student population of approx. 10,000 students. There was no second choice – my decision was made!