Staff Profile: Caroline McPherson

5 min read
Each month we profile a FirstPoint USA Staff Member to give you some insight into what we're like, what we do, and what experience we have. The majority of our staff have all been through the American scholarship process themselves and have studied and played sport to a high level in the States. One of FirstPoint USAs newest recruits, Caroline McPherson, is certainly no exception! Caroline achieved great success at Ohio State University, on a crew scholarship she originally secured through FirstPoint USA. Here's Caroline's story: Hi Caroline can you tell us a bit about your sporting background pre-scholarship? I rowed from the age of 12 for my school in Edinburgh, then went on to row for my country. I became National Champion in the J18 doubles event in 2006. How did you hear about FirstPoint USA? I heard about FirstPoint USA through word-of-mouth. A football agent in Glasgow who knows my family very well had recommended I speak to FirstPoint when he discovered that going to the USA was something that really interested me. What made you choose Ohio? Going to Ohio State was not the decision I expected to come when I started the process. Like many people I thought Id end up in California or Florida - somewhere hot! I had been told how wonderful OSU was by FirstPoint staff and I remember not grasping the concept of what Ohio State was all about. When the guys at FirstPoint told me OSU were interested I did not know anything about Ohio - however they enforced the fact it was definitely one to consider. I was lucky enough to go and visit the campus, I was immediately wowed, and I loved it the minute I got there. I listened to their advice and they were right. What were your impressions of the quality of U.S facilities, coaching etc? How do they compare to those in the UK? The facilities for rowing in the UK are pretty good, the facilities for rowing in the US are spectacular. An athletess life at University in America is literally unbelievable to anybody who has not witnessed it firsthand. The university/college facilities trump our pro facilities without a doubt. For a University to have a stadium, on campus, that is bigger than our Nation Stadium- that says it all really. University coaches are full time coaches- that is their career and they are hired and fire based on results. This proves for a much higher level of coaching than we get in the UK at university level. What was the highlight of your time in the USA? My highlight in the USA was winning my conference title with the team. This happened in my final year and I could not have been happier. Winning The Big 10 Championships as a senior is something extremely special. What did you achieve academically and athletically whilst in the U.S? I was a four time scholar-athlete in the USA and I made Deans list all four years. In America I heard a lot of college term (Deans list) that at first meant nothing to me, as you grow to understand the American-Way you grow to thrive in the environment both academically and athletically. Athletically it was important for me to be respected by my team and coaches as well as to perform as well as possible in training and in racing. How did you balance and manage your time between your studies, training and social life? The three very much intertwined while I was studying in America. My teammates were my best friends out there - we all had the same schedule and the same early mornings therefore it was easy to fit it in. Academically I was always offered a lot of support if I needed it - coaches, teachers, academic advisers and teammates were always there if I had questions. Balancing it became easy as the structure of my days determined what I was doing and when. What advice would you have for any young athlete considering a sports scholarship to the USA? Go for it - and enjoy every second. What made you want to work for FirstPoint USA? What is your role at the company? I am now a Sports Consultant at FirstPoint USA. I came back to work here as I had such a brilliant experience in America and I missed that life while working the last two years. I know that this something I can talk to candidates and their families about when they are considering the opportunity. I enjoy being involved in the sports world and the American University world - therefore it is the perfect environment. What is your favorite part of the job so far? For me, the best part is meeting with families and taking them through the process. Within that: the best part is answering all their questions about life in the USA and what being a student-athlete entails. What do you think are the benefits of having a USA Scholarship experience compared to a UK education? The true benefit is that I gained an education and played my sport at the same time. I was encouraged in both fields and it gave me ample opportunity to grow academically and athletically. Something I think lacks in the British University system - academics and athletics are not linked closely. Studying in another country is something that on its own is so difference - it is a huge commitment for anyone to make. It can shape a person and change their whole future. Can you tell us 3 interesting facts about yourself?
  • I had a rib removed at age 17.
  • I have three Highland Cows (as pets).
  • I rowed in six marathons (32miles) while at school.

We would like to thank Caroline for taking the time to answer these questions!

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