Which College Program is Right for Me?
Where should I go to school? This might be one of the biggest decisions of your life (or at least the 4 years after High School). It might feel like playing volleyball is the most important aspect now, but there are lots of criteria to consider. Your answers will be custom to you and every person’s criteria will be different. Below are a few important factors to make your most informed college choice possible.
Since the opportunities include a very large list, let’s define some things that might help you narrow down the college options. Spend some time self reflecting and asking yourself some tough questions. Here are the general things to keep in mind when narrowing the choices:
• Academics and majors
• Athletic level (consider consulting your coach)
• Cost, financial aid, and affordability (in-state /out-of-state tuition)
• Location and distance from home
• Campus community and social life
• Size of the school
• Career services and other support
• Public or private?
You are a student-athlete, but try not to define your potential college list by the athletic program! That can come later. It’s important to make a well rounded decision and a long term fit. If you get recruited to play volleyball, 4 years on the team is not a guaranteed. (Injuries, dissatisfaction, change of priority) Here is a link of common mistakes people make when choosing a college.
What level of college volleyball competition is a fit for my ability?
Consider the match of the college and your level of volleyball play and talent. This will require some honest self reflection and maybe some feedback from your coach. There are lots of opportunities and levels of play. Find the right fit.
NCAA has 3 distinct divisions. Consider which divisions fit. Be honest with yourself on this one. This might be the largest factor in narrowing your list.
Division I – top competition, high commitment and visibility, athletic scholarships available
Division II – above-average competition, some level of commitment and visibility, scholarship opportunities
Division III – a range of competition from fairly competitive to no-cut teams, academics are first, and there are no athletic scholarships.
NAIA schools are another great option for many student-athlete’s. a range of competition from above-average competition to fairly competitive. Generally these colleges are smaller private schools. They are not subject to NCAA requirements and have flexibility in both recruitment and scholarships. NAIA is one of the fastest growing levels of college volleyball.
In summary, do your research. Try to ask yourself the tough questions and narrow down the schools that fit you. Only after you have made a thorough investigation will you be ready to make a qualified list of colleges, then you can start the recruiting process and reaching out to coaches.
I started VolleyVideo to help players simplify the college volleyball recruiting process. I assist athletes with optimized highlight videos, easy steps, and individualized consultation. Get volleyball specific insight and take the guesswork out of making your best first impression.