There are more than 10,500 women’s collegiate tennis players competing across all three NCAA division levels. Of these 10,500+ athletes, less than 1% are US high school tennis players competing for an NCAA Division 1 program. Why is this percentage so small? This, in large part, can be attributed to international recruiting. Collegiate tennis has the highest percentage of international athletes competing at the NCAA level than another NCAA sponsored sport. In 2017, 35.4% of women’s tennis players competing at the NCAA Division 1 level were international athletes.
For recruits, this means they must take a proactive approach to the college recruiting process and consistently communicate with coaches, if they want to be noticed and have a chance at an athletic scholarship.
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Headcount scholarships are when the NCAA places a limit on the number of athletes that can receive a scholarship each year. Headcount scholarships are only given as full rides, covering the entire cost of college.
College coaches are given a maximum scholarship budget that they can divide up however they see fit to award scholarship packages. These are known as partial scholarships that cover some but not all the cost of college. College coaches can choose to award larger scholarships to fewer roster holders or smaller scholarships to many roster holders, as long as they do not exceed the budget limit.
International recruiting is very common in women’s college tennis, with 35.4% of women’s tennis roster holders competing at the NCAA Division 1 level in 2017 being international athletes. With that said, it comes as no surprise that some college coaches reserve a portion of their scholarship budget for these athletes as an incentive to uproot to the US. But the reality for all athletes, regardless of what country they are from, is that college coaches want a well-rounded athlete with a high playing level and academic record. Recruits need to prove that they can immediately contribute to the team and can balance their athletic career and academics. For Division 1 programs, these athletes are often those labeled as Blue Chip players by TennisRecruiting.net.
Did you know there are four different types of offers that college coaches can extend to a recruit? Below is a look at the different ways a recruit can make the roster.
For recruits looking to play for an ACHA program, know that these programs do not offer athletic scholarships. To receive financial aid, these recruits will need a strong academic record to qualify for a merit-based aid package.
Division 1 women’s college tennis programs can offer scholarships to a maximum of eight athletes each season. The size of these scholarships is dependent on whether the program is fully funded or not. Fully funded programs will be able to offer full-ride scholarships to each of the eight athletes.
Division 1 women’s college tennis scholarships are reserved for international recruits who rank at the top of their country and American athletes who are ranked in the top 50 on Tennisrecruiting.net and are labeled Blue Chip athletes.
As an equivalency sport, Division 2 women’s tennis programs can award a maximum of six full-ride equivalent scholarships per team. When a program is fully funded, college coaches can award larger scholarship packages and provide more athletes with financial funding. Programs that aren’t fully funded face the challenge of dividing their scholarship budget in a way that benefits as many athletes as they can with an impactful amount of aid.
There are no athletic scholarships to award at the NCAA Division 3 level. Instead, recruits receive financial funding through merit-based scholarships if they meet the academic standards set in place by institutions. In some cases, Division 3 financial aid packages may be larger than the athletic scholarships offered by Division 1 and 2 programs.
The NAIA does not limit the number of scholarships a program can award. However, our experts have found through communication with the NAIA that scholarship opportunities at the NAIA level are similar to the NCAA level. Because funding is not consistent from program to program, each team has a different number of scholarships they can offer.
Student-athletes have the best chance of receiving financial funding with NJCAA tennis scholarships. Fully funded NJCAA tennis programs can offer the entire tennis roster with financial funding. Recruits that plan to transfer to a four-year NCAA college should keep in mind that GPA and standardized test score requirements to transfer might be stricter.
Every recruit is required to meet the NCAA eligibility requirements in order to compete for an NCAA program. The NCAA uses these requirements to determine a recruit’s academics and amateurism status.
To be eligible to compete at an NCAA school, recruits must:
If a recruit fails to meet these requirements upon graduating high school, their NLI agreement will become invalid.
Recruits cannot directly apply for an athletic scholarship, but the way they market themselves during the recruiting process can increase their chances of receiving a scholarship. Below is a step-by-step look at how recruits can catch the attention of college coaches.
It can be a challenge to find the right college match with the best opportunity for an athletic scholarship. Luckily, we’ve created a list of the best colleges for women’s tennis scholarships at each NCAA division level and the NAIA. Check out the top 10 women’s tennis program based on academics, cost, graduation rates and more according to the NCSA Power Ranking.