USTA SOCAL COLLEGE

RECRUITING & READINESS

Do Your Homework

College tennis can be a profoundly rewarding experience. Scholar-athletes improve their skills with top notch coaches, create lifelong friendships with teammates, and feel a sense of pride as they step on the court to represent their school in competitive play. 

Yet the road to college tennis can be complicated, and USTA Southern California is proud to help guide our talented junior players to the next level – from selecting the right school to athletic eligibility and recruitment.

Consider The Options

There are over 2,000 collegiate tennis programs nationwide, including NCAA, NJCAA, NAIA, and CCCAA divisions. When considering which programs may suit your goals and objectives, there are countless factors that come into play.

First, the “Big Picture.” Will your decision be based solely on athletics, or will academics remain your top priority? Think about academic strength, geography, housing, the student body, and other broad topics. Financials are also a critical consideration. Many schools offer financial assistance and athletic scholarships for qualified students. 

Next, what kind of tennis program appeals to you? It’s best to select a school that reflects your skills and aspirations. Be realistic, but also challenge yourself to learn and improve. 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association includes more than 1,000 colleges and universities across the United States. NCAA tennis is divided into three categories – Division I, II, and III. Many top prospects aim for Division I programs like UCLA, USC, and Pepperdine. At the Division II level, one out of every 11 enrolled students competes in athletics. In Division III, one out of 6 students plays a college sport. This means that at Division II and III schools, admissions personnel are looking for student-athletes!

The National Junior College Athletic Association fosters two-year athletic programs. After the two years, players can transfer to a four-year institution. Schools like Bakersfield College, Long Beach City College, and El Camino College compete as part of NJCAA Tennis.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is focused on equally balancing academics and athletics. San Diego Christian, Westmont College, and Hope International are examples of NAIA tennis programs.

The California Community College Athletic Association includes schools like College of the Desert, Irvine Valley College, and Riverside Community College. /p>

Eligibility

Once you’ve researched and considered all of your options, you’ll need to register for eligibility. It is recommended to register before your sophomore year of high school. Both the NCAA and NAIA have Eligibility Centers for students to declare athletic eligibility. These offices are crucial to your college readiness journey. 

Recruiting may begin as early as the summer between sophomore and junior year of high school. There are very strict limitations placed on both coaches and prospective student-athletes related to interactions during a player’s junior and senior years. This information is crucial to maintaining athletic eligibility.

Begin Your Journey

The USTA has developed a comprehensive suite of USTA resources as well as other helpful links, downloads and guides so you can better identify the most promising path to a collegiate tennis career. Aspiring players and their parents are encouraged to visit the National site to learn about all aspects of NCAA, NJCAA, NAIA, and CCCAA tennis preparation, recruitment, and the scholar-athlete experience.

Learn More

College Knowledge

Throughout the year, USTA Southern California collaborates with a variety of schools and industry experts to host “College Knowledge” events for parents and college-bound athletes. 

Panels composed of college coaches representing all levels of collegiate play, Tennis On Campus representatives, academic advisors, nutritional experts, and others, discuss issues related to the experience of preparing for and playing tennis in college. 

Players and parents learn what to expect when entering the collegiate space, what scholarships are available, how to find outlets for competitive and recreational tennis, and the best methods of selecting a program that best suits the needs of the scholar-athlete.  

The next College Knowledge event scheduled for Sunday April 5 at the Great Park in Irvine HAS BEEN POSTPONED. See this space for rescheduling and future College Knowledge events.