For high school student-athletes participating in men’s tennis with intentions of playing the sport at the collegiate level, there are over 900 colleges offering men’s tennis programs. Finding a men’s tennis program which fits the player’s skill level can be a bit daunting, but with proper research, student-athletes and their parents can make initial contacts with prospective men’s tennis recruiting coaches.
Men’s tennis is currently offered by 938 universities and colleges across all levels (D1, D2, D3, NAIA and Junior Colleges).
Men’s Division 1 tennis colleges have rosters filled with topnotch players. Universities with prominent men’s tennis teams (such as Stanford) do not limit recruiting to just the United States. Stanford, along with Princeton and Harvard University, are on the top of NCSA’s list of best Division 1 men’s tennis colleges. These large schools have a budget large enough to recruit internationally. Smaller D1 men’s tennis programs will have smaller budgets, and college coaches from these schools conduct their recruiting searches on a more regional and local basis. D1 tennis colleges are limited to an equivalency total of 4.5 scholarships which puts an emphasis on recruiting men’s tennis players with the ability to excel in both singles and doubles matches.
In comparison, there is very little difference in the talent level of men’s Division 2 tennis players and their D1 counterparts, as players at both levels have similar performance qualities. A student-athlete’s decision to participate for a D2 men’s tennis program may have nothing at all to do with talent level. The men’s tennis player may want to major in a subject not carried by a D1 school offering a similar scholarship package, or the athlete may prefer to be part of a smaller college atmosphere. Bentley University and Truman State University are among the best Division 2 men’s tennis colleges.
Division 3 tennis colleges may be the viable option for the men’s tennis player wanting the sport to be just one part of the overall college experience. A D3 men’s tennis program coach will still expect the student-athlete to perform at his best, and there will still be the expectation of a major time commitment to practicing for matches. Although there are no athletic scholarships provided at the D3 level, a men’s tennis team participant may receive financial assistance through academic-related grants and other awards programs set in place by the college. Enrollment guidelines for D3 educational institutions generally require higher GPA and ACT scores than a D1 or D2 university. Amherst College and Johns Hopkins University are two of the top D3 tennis colleges available for high school student-athletes to consider in playing the sport at the next level.
NAIA colleges, which are not associated with the NCAA and have separate academic guidelines in place, may be a more favorable option for those men’s tennis players seeking a smaller educational campus but do not possess the higher GPA and ACT scores required by the NCAA Division 3 programs. The talent level of NAIA tennis colleges is close to those at lower tier NCAA D1 men’s tennis teams, but more aligned to D2 tennis schools. The men’s tennis player attending a NAIA tennis school is still expected to practice and compete at his top level of play. NAIA schools may offer an equivalency of five full scholarships in men’s tennis. The best NAIA tennis colleges include Indiana Wesleyan University and Asbury University.
The NJCAA is an association of two-year colleges, commonly referred to as Junior Colleges or JUCO schools, and members of the men’s tennis programs compete at a level of play equal to NCAA D1 and D2 tennis schools. Most student-athletes enrolled at NJCAA tennis colleges have the physical talent to compete at the higher levels of collegiate men’s tennis but lack the GPA and ACT scores required by the NCAA. A men’s tennis player at a JUCO provides the student-athlete the opportunity to improve his overall grades while still competing in tennis in a quality collegiate level of play. Tyler (TX) and ASA Miami (FL) are two of the standout NJCAA men’s tennis programs.
NCSA’s Power Rankings help accumulate data on men’s tennis colleges based on a myriad of features an institution possesses.
While overall wins and losses are important in determining NCSA rankings, there are many equally important factors which are also used. Considerations for the student-athlete’s overall experience include educational costs (the average cost per student-athlete after financial aid is received), graduation rates and search activities by members of the NCSA recruiting network.