Women’s lacrosse has been around for many years but wasn’t adopted by the NCAA until 1982. Today, the sport is rapidly growing beyond the East Coast to the Midwest and West Coast. Competition for a roster spot on a women’s college lacrosse team is fierce. Student-athletes need to be more than just athletic, they need to be well-rounded, versatile competitors that excel athletically and academically. As student-athletes begin their recruiting journey, they should start with a strong recruiting profile and commit to clear and timely communication with college coaches at prospective schools.
To find the right college fit, student-athletes must first understand what collegiate level they are qualified to compete in. Once an athlete understands this, they can begin to build a list of target schools within that division to pursue during the recruiting process. Student-athletes can prepare to market themselves to these schools by building a profile, creating highlight video, contacting college coaches, competing in tournaments and attending prospect camps.
To help student-athletes navigate what can be confusing rules and regulations, we’ve outlined all aspects of the recruiting process for NCAA lacrosse, as well as NAIA and NJCAA lacrosse.
Why did college lacrosse recruiting rules change? In 2017, the NCAA approved a proposal from the IWLCA and IMLCA to push back the date that college coaches can begin contacting student-athletes to September 1 of their junior year. By pushing this date, the NCAA hopes to stop early recruiting and create a healthier recruiting process overall. Visit the page on the NCAA lacrosse recruiting rules to better understand what coaches and athletes can and cannot do during the recruiting process.
Playing women’s college lacrosse takes more than just athleticism. College coaches want to fill roster spots with athletes who are versatile, demonstrate high lacrosse IQ and have the mental and physical strength to perform against strong competition. This section answers the question, “how good do you have to be to play college lacrosse?” by breaking down the experience, skills and other factors that athletes in each position require to be recruited at each tier level.
How many players on a women’s lacrosse team receive scholarships each year? The NCAA allows each Division 1 women’s lacrosse program to award a maximum of 12 full-ride equivalent scholarships. There are even fewer lacrosse scholarship opportunities at the NCAA Division 2 level, with 9.9 scholarships per team. Unfortunately, not every lacrosse program is fully funded, which means some programs have fewer than the maximum number of scholarships to award student-athletes. To learn more about scholarship opportunities and how to get an athletic scholarship at NCAA programs, as well as the NAIA and NJCAA, visit the scholarships guide page.
The recruiting process can feel like a juggling act between maintaining a recruiting profile, communicating with college coaches and attending camps and tournaments. While it can be stressful at times, student-athletes who are diligent during the process better situate themselves to get recruited for women’s lacrosse. Our goal in this section is to alleviate some of the stress that comes with the recruiting process through tips about when to communicate with college coaches, how to write a recruiting letter, select what camps to attend and more.
A lacrosse recruiting video gives college coaches insight into an athlete’s ability to play the game with a variety of skills. Student-athletes will need to include in their three to four-minute video what college coaches are looking for in athletes that play at their position. For example, an attacker’s highlight video should include game clips that demonstrate confidence in competition against top talent and the ability to clearly communicate with teammates during play.
After student-athletes have a variety of game footage to work with, they can begin to organize, edit and upload their highlight video. After student-athletes upload their recruiting video, they can begin to share it with college coaches. In this section we walk student-athletes through the entire process of making a strong highlight video.
Student-athletes must take advantage of opportunities to compete in front of college coaches and showcase their skillset. Lacrosse camps are a great way to be seen by college coaches and develop as athletes under their guidance. College coaches use this time to interact with athletes and evaluate talent that they have begun recruiting. This section we help student-athletes understand the importance of lacrosse camps and find a camp near them.
No matter what a student-athlete is trying to achieve, more times than not, having a strong support system can be the key differentiator as to whether they’re successful or not.
Oftentimes, boarding schools like our partner IMG Academy, offer robust support systems inclusive of dedicated college placement advisors, experienced coaches, academic teachers, Athletic & Personal development trainers, mentors, counselors and other on-campus staff. With that type of team available any time, student-athletes will be prepared and equipped for the next level throughout their journey towards the collegiate level. With a schedule that mirrors that of a collegiate environment, IMG lacrosse student-athletes are already familiar with their schedule from the moment they step foot on a college campus.
Within IMG’s college-preparatory environment for 6-12th graders, as well as gap year student-athletes, athletes will:
While NCSA’s resources are proven in guiding a student-athlete during their college recruiting journey, we’ve also seen that pairing an IMG Academy education and experience with our services will undoubtedly boost a student-athlete’s opportunities and preparation for success as a college lacrosse player.
How many college lacrosse teams are there for women lacrosse players? There are 550 four-year institutions and 18 junior colleges that offer women’s college lacrosse. While athletics is a large factor in a student-athlete’s search for the right college fit, there are many other factors that student-athletes consider. Factors such as academics, cost, size and location weigh heavily in a college search. This section gives a more detailed look at women’s lacrosse programs at the NCAA, NAIA and the NJCAA levels.
NCSA aims to provide student-athletes with a well-rounded recruiting guide for women’s lacrosse, but there are a number of other valuable resources that student-athletes and their families can turn to during the college recruiting process. Some of these resources include collegecrosse.com, insidelacrosse.com and uslaxmagazine.com. Student-athletes who are interested in seeing how each women’s college lacrosse programs ranks can reference NCSA’s Power Rankings and the NCAA’s website.
Insider tip: Despite the impact that coronavirus had on college sports, as of June 1, 2021, the NCAA resumed its regular recruiting rules and activity! Coaches are actively working to fill their rosters, so student-athletes should be proactive in reaching out to coaches. Read up on how the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes who were most affected by the pandemic in 2020 will impact future recruiting classes.