Deciding what college to attend is one of the biggest decisions a high school student-athlete will make.
Deciding what college to attend is one of the biggest decisions a high school student-athlete will make. This is where you will spend the next four years developing academically, athletically and socially. But to make this decision, you need to first understand your options. What schools offer beach volleyball programs? Should you play NCAA Division 1, Division 2 or Division 3? What schools offer the best academic and athletic opportunities? To help you through the college research process, we’ve created a list of top ranked schools, so you can learn about your options.
NCSA Power Rankings are based on proprietary analysis of NCSA Favorites data obtained from the college search activity of more than 2 million student-athletes on the NCSA recruiting network, U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges, IPEDS graduation rates and IPEDS average cost after aid.
More than 70 four-year colleges offer beach volleyball programs. These programs are available at the NCAA Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3 levels. As an equivalency sport, college beach volleyball coaches are not required to give out full scholarships to their athletes and can break up scholarships however they want. When a program is fully funded, Division 1 coaches can offer up to six scholarships and Division 2 coaches can offer up to five scholarships.
NCSA recently reported that nearly 45 percent of college athletes aren’t listed on their teams roster the next year. This suggests that student-athletes aren’t choosing the best fit college for their needs and, as a result, end up leaving the team. There are four factors to consider when selecting the best college match.
• Athletic Fit – It’s important to have a realistic expectation for what level is right for you. Understanding what skills are required to play at each division level can help you determine what programs are the best athletic fit for you.
• Academic Fit – Good grade are necessary to get into college, but you also need to think of academic fit as selecting a school that has the major(s) you are interested in pursuing and a manageable academic workload.
• Social Fit – This isn’t just about campus culture. You should consider location, school size, weather, distance from home and other important factors when searching for a good social fit.
• Financial Fit – Most programs aren’t able to offer full-ride athletic scholarship, so families need to be prepared to cover at least some college cost. To best understand your final cost, learn to evaluate schools on your expected contribution
When going through the college selection process, don’t put all of you eggs in one basket. It’s important to build a list of potential schools that meet your needs. Below is a look at how you can build a college list that will set you up for success.
1. Reach School (5-10 schools) – Everyone has at least one dream school that may be a bit out of reach because you aren’t athletically qualified, your grades might not meet the requirements or maybe tuition exceeds your budget. Don’t rule these schools out. Keep them on your list because you never know what opportunities might open up, but don’t only have dream schools on your list.
2. Target School (10-20 schools) – These schools are right on target when it comes to your qualifications and expectations. But it’s important to remember that, while these schools may be a perfect fit athletically or academically, there are other recruits interested in these programs and there are no guarantees that you will be offered a roster spot.
3. Safety School (3-5 schools) – Every student-athlete should have a list of safety schools. These schools are ones that, even in the worst-case scenario, you are still likely to be accepted and offered a roster spot.