Nearly 550 four-year institutions and 20 junior colleges offer women’s college lacrosse. With so many options to choose from, student-athletes need to do a great deal of research to narrow down their options and create a list of prospective schools to find their right college fit. This begins with evaluating their skillset to determine what division they are most suited to play. This section provides an overview of women’s college lacrosse by each NCAA Division level, as well as NAIA and NJCAA, with links to additional pages dedicated to a more in-depth look at each association and the various divisions.
Of the nearly 581 women’s lacrosse programs offered at four-year institutions, over 500 of those are sponsored by the NCAA. These programs are concentrated in the Northeastern region, with others peppered across various southern states, the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. 37 women’s lacrosse teams are sponsored by the NAIA and can be found across the Midwest and Southeastern regions. The fewest number of women’s college lacrosse programs are offered at the junior college level, with only 20 NJCAA sponsored programs located mainly in New York, New Jersey and Maryland.
Each year, Division 1 women’s lacrosse programs attract the top five percent of high school women’s lacrosse players. These athletes are strong competitors who perform equally well in the classroom, making them candidates for an athletic scholarship. While full rides are hard to come by in women’s lacrosse, college coaches can award partial scholarships to student-athletes at this level. Student-athletes pursuing a Division 1 women’s lacrosse career can begin their search for the right college fit with this list of the best Division 1 women’s lacrosse schools.
Despite being an overlooked division, women’s college lacrosse at the Division 2 level has grown over the past few years. Division 2 colleges may not offer the same athletic prestige as Division 1 schools or the same variety in programs as Division 3 schools, but these are still competitive programs that give student-athletes a chance to play college lacrosse on an athletic scholarship. Student-athletes considering a Division 2 lacrosse career can read more about what these programs offer on our Division 2 college lacrosse page. Student-athletes can also visit our Power Ranking page for the top Divisions 2 women’s lacrosse schools.
With 293 women’s lacrosse programs to choose from, the NCAA Division 3 offers the largest opportunity to play college lacrosse. Division 3 women’s lacrosse programs cater to a variety of talent levels, with the top end programs competing at the same caliber as Division 1 lacrosse programs. At this level, the NCAA does not offer athletic scholarships. Instead, student-athletes who meet the necessary requirements set in place by the university are eligible for an academic scholarship, as well as other forms of financial aid, such as grants and need-based financial aid. We’ve dedicated an entire section to further explaining Division 3 women’s lacrosse and ranked all 293 Division 3 women’s lacrosse programs in our Power Rankings of the best D3 women’s lacrosse colleges.
Student-athletes who are looking to play women’s college lacrosse outside of the Northeast region should consider an NAIA institution. These programs are primarily located in the Midwest and Southeastern regions and offer competitive women’s lacrosse at the collegiate level. To help student-athletes navigate the NAIA options, we’ve dedicated a page specifically to NAIA women’s lacrosse colleges and ranked the top NAIA institution offering women’s lacrosse in NCSA’s Power Rankings.
Junior colleges are a great option for student-athletes looking to improve their academic standing to gain acceptance at a four-year institution or further develop their athletic skills in hopes of receiving an athletic scholarship at an NCAA institution. Student-athletes can learn more about junior college and the 20 NJCAA sponsored women’s lacrosse programs on our Women’s NJCAA Lacrosse Colleges page.
Student-athletes select the right college fit based on more than just athletic programs. Athletes and their families want to evaluate a school’s academic performance, affordability, location and more. Taking these important factors into consideration, NCSA has ranked the top women’s lacrosse programs across all divisions to help student-athletes find their right college fit. Below are the top 10 women’s lacrosse programs: