The Process Behind Earning a College Tennis Scholarship
Applying to college occurs through a fairly straightforward application submission, but earning an athletic scholarship can be an entirely different process. Are you familiar with the route to achieving a tennis scholarship? Are you considering whether you’re playing enough UTR, ITF, or USTA tournaments? Have you considered the eligibility process? What about gaining exposure to coaches, so they can see your game?
All of these questions, and more, may have run through your mind one time or another. In fact, it’s quite common to be unaware of how earning a scholarship works. So, let’s ace the process!
Beginning the process of reaching out to coaches begins only after proper research is complete. Having the confidence that you’re truly prepared for college competition enables high school student-athletes to have a clear vision of what they’re truly looking for in a university. Below is a list of items to complete before reaching out to coaches:
Review sites such as Naviance to identify which programs you’d like to compete for, whether it be due to size, location, athletic programming, or anything else
Understand how scholarships work
All scholarship and open communication periods can be found at NCAA.org. For example, if a Division 1 program is fully funded, they will have eight total women’s scholarships and 4.5 total men’s scholarships. These are divided between current and incoming players yet only become available dependent on graduates or transfers.
Complete the NCAA Clearinghouse process
In order to take official visits, this MUST be finalized
Fill out prospective student-athlete forms, which ask for basic contact information, academic information, and athletic information, such as recruiting videos
Although they’re typically not required, these forms are certainly recommended.
Once players have cleared the open communication period, they can email or call coaches with their contact information, which tournaments they’re playing, their interest in the program, and other pertinent information. Being able to meet coaches at high level tournaments provides tennis players with the opportunity to showcase their game.
Once you’ve started the discussion with coaches, discussion about earning college tennis scholarships may begin. Best practice is to show interest prior to asking about available funds.
From there, it’s an open court! Unofficial visits may be taken according to NCAA regulations, and official visits can begin when approved by coaches, as student-athletes must be on a coach’s Initial Recruiting List (IRL) before approving a visit.