Are you a tennis player and are you interested in getting a tennis scholarship to study in one of the best tennis universities the United States?
In this article we are going to tell you everything you need to find a tennis scholarship in the US, including information about the best 10 programs in Division I of the NCAA. If you are able to get a tennis scholarship at one of these universities in means you are a really good player!
Do you want to see yourself playing tennis, receiving a tennis scholarship and studying at a university in the United States? Sure, it’s normal; but first you have to make sure you comply with the many rules that American universities have, and realize that even though you a very good player you still have many things to do to get a tennis scholarship and live your dream in the United States. So, let’s go! In order to receive a tennis scholarship and be able to compete in tennis in the USA you will have to comply with the following:
Get UTR (Universal Tennis Rating) ranking, high national ranking or international ranking (ITF or ATP-WTA). The better ranking you have and the more matches you have played and won, the easier it will be for American coaches to evaluate your athletic level.
Being an amateur tennis player, not having earned money or signed professional contracts. The rules with the money have softened a lot in recent years and in a sport such as tennis we find very few cases where players have signed professional contracts.
Finish your High School studies in your country of origin, without repeating any course or distributing an academic year in two. This item is very important in a sport like tennis, you must finish at the same time as the other kids in your class, and tennis is not an excuse for not graduating on time.
Get ready for the American admission exams: the SAT (exam needed to enter into almost every university in the United States) and the TOEFL (an English level test for non-English speaking students). Keep in mind that there are few dates throughout the year, so you should take them during your junior year of High School. Register with time to secure a place.
Your level playing tennis, your rankings, your victories over other players…those are the things that will get the attention from coaches, who will be interested in you and that will offer you tennis scholarships. If coaches want you in their teams is because you can help them and their programs in winning more matches, more conferences or more national titles. Your athletic level will drive the interest from the coaches, so even if your goals are academic, tennis has to be your priority in the years leading up to college. The better you are, the more universities will want you and the more offers for a tennis scholarship you will receive. It sounds good, doesn´t it?
We can find all kinds of international tennis players in American universities, from players who have gone through national teams to club players who have never competed. If you are amongst the first, you can choose between hundreds of universities and you will get very high tennis scholarships. If you are in the second group, do not worry, you also have options; but in this case and since you will not be able to receive any tennis scholarships, you will depend on the budget your family has, who will have to pay more money to study, train and compete at an American university.
If you work hard and do it well on the SAT and/or on the TOEFL, you will be eligible for academic scholarships and international scholarships. If you are not a high-level tennis player your case is a bit different and will not have access to tennis scholarships. You have to be very clear about your athletic level and your athletic and academic goals, while your parents have to do numbers and see how far they want to go financially.
Remember: tennis is the reason why a coach will want you in his team and will offer you a tennis scholarship, as long as you comply with the rules and have a good SAT and TOEFL.
If you are a player who has represented any of your national teams, who has ATP or WTA rankings or who has reached the final rounds of your national championships. First of all, congratulations! We assume that you choose this option because you want to continue improving your tennis and also want to continue with your college studies. Besides, you are a smart guy or girl and you have very clear the benefits that studying in the USA will bring you. Some of you want to be professional tennis players and will try to play when you finish your university career, understanding that the average age of the top 100 in the world is getting higher and knowing that more and more professional tennis players are coming out of American universities. You did not know? Well, take note!
If you are a player without international experience, with few results at the national level, and with a similar level to a Spanish ranking that goes from 200 to 500, it may be a little harder to choose a university since there will be fewer coaches that will show interest in your tennis level, but still there will be dozens of options available that will give you the opportunity to benefit from the combination of university studies and tennis, as well as learning perfect English.
The tennis scholarship offers you will receive will be lower so your parents will need a higher budget to pay for the rest of your college education. And you should not expect the best universities in the US to contact you, since those coaches are probably talking and offering their tennis scholarships to top international players.
There are also options in case you are a tennis player and have a lower level, or for academic reasons you cannot participate in championships and therefore have a lower ranking. If that is your case, you should know that the Division III universities also have tennis teams. They do not offer tennis scholarships but provide training every day and competitions between universities, with a much lower level of sports pressure than in the higher divisions, where tennis scholarships are awarded. In addition, most of these universities have a higher academic level and their annual cost is usually very high, but for students who obtain very good results on the SAT exam and with an outstanding academic record there are academic scholarships and international scholarships, which they greatly reduce the investment to be made.
Any player, of any level, may have options to play tennis at these universities.
There are more than 1,200 universities in the USA with tennis programs, which does not mean that all of them grant tennis scholarships to their players. Only the NCAA has about 1,000 universities, divided amongst its 3 organizations: Division I, Division II and Division III, as we discussed above. It is very important to clarify that they are not first, second and third division and that there are all kinds of universities in each of them. In Division I there are more than 300 universities, most of them are the most recognized universities, with more sports offered, with better facilities, and with more benefits than most universities in the other organizations. Here 4.5 tennis scholarships are awarded for each male team, which must be distributed among the 8 players. As far as women’s tennis is concerned, 8 tennis scholarships are distributed for 8 players, so if a player ends up playing in Division I the normal thing is that she will be receiving a full tennis scholarship. Division II is where we find more international tennis players, an organization that has more than 200 universities, most of them smaller than the previous ones and, therefore, with less athletic resources than in Division I. There are several universities of Division II with a higher athletic level than many universities of Division I. The tennis scholarships awarded in these universities practically always are partial, although the girls usually receive higher scholarships than the boys. On the other hand, universities have a limit of tennis scholarships to award, although that budget depends on each university.
With almost 400 universities with tennis teams, in Division III, the academic component is more important than the athletic one. Tennis scholarships are not awarded and, therefore, financial aid is lower and comes from the side of academic scholarships. They are universities where the priority is clearly academic and where athletics is a complement for the students, who do not have sports pressure.
In NAIA there are some 100 universities with the possibility of offering tennis scholarships. Most NAIA colleges are smaller than the average university and have a rural location, with some exceptions. As in Division II there are a lot of international players in this type of universities and the athletic and academic level in some of these universities is of a higher level than in many Division I universities. And just like in Division II, the tennis scholarships are almost never full scholarships and the coach distributes the budget allocated for scholarships between the players of their teams.
Junior and Community Colleges are 2-year colleges and these are very interesting options for some tennis players, especially those who do not meet the academic requirements to get the green light from the NCAA or the NAIA. Most Junior Colleges have tennis scholarships, although these vary on each university. In contrast, Community Colleges in California are not allowed to award tennis scholarships.
Spain has more than 500 Spanish tennis players representing universities all over the country, with an increasing number of players who have started their studies thanks to tennis scholarships in the American system. In fact, Spain in 2017 has been the foreign country with the highest number of tennis players, both men and women, participating in university tennis in the United States. This means that Spain is ahead of countries that traditionally were always at the top of this ranking (such as France, Germany, Great Britain, Canada or Sweden).
The Spanish tennis players who take advantage of this opportunity are of all kinds of levels, from former players of national teams (male and female), to others who only played national tournaments or even some who played locally in their cities or clubs. Therefore, with so many universities and so many differences in levels, there are options for anyone interested in studying in the USA and in obtaining a tennis scholarship; as long as it is understood that the lower the level, the fewer possibilities there are to obtain tennis scholarships and, therefore, more investment will have to be made by the families of the future students.
These are the TOP 10 tennis programs offering tennis scholarships for men in NCAA Division I (thank you Wikipedia for the information on these programs!)
Under the direction of Dan Magill from 1954 to 1988 and his successor (and current head coach) Manuel Diaz, the Georgia Men’s Tennis program ranks among the nation’s best. The team has won a total of eight tennis national championships in 1985, ’87, ’99, 2001, ’06 (indoor), 07 (indoor and NCAA Division I), and 2008. The Bulldogs’ six NCAA team championships rank fourth all-time.The 2007 indoor championship made Georgia only the sixth team in history to successfully defend the ITA Indoor title. The squad has won 32 Southeastern Conference championships, 25 regular season championships and seven SEC tournament championships.
The NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship has been held in Athens 24 times in the past 35 years, including consecutively from 1977 to 1989 and in 2007. All but one (2008) of UGA’s NCAA team championships have been won in Athens.
John Isner, who has been top10 in the ATP Tour, received a tennis scholarship from the University of Georgia, playing from 2004 to 2007.
George Toley (1954–80) guided the Trojans for 26 years before resigning during the 1980 season. His career record was 430-92-4 (.821) with 10 NCAA titles. Dick Leach succeeded Toley and posted a 535-133 (.801) mark in 23 years. His 1991, 1993, 1994 and 2002 teams won the NCAA tourney (his 2002 No. 11-seeded Cinderella team was the lowest seed ever to win the NCAA title and did so a month after Leach announced his retirement) and 8 of his other teams finished fourth or better. He was succeeded by ex-Pepperdine, Fresno State and Long Beach State coach Peter Smith for the 2003 season. His 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 teams have won the National Championship.
Overall, USC players have been named to All-American teams 137 times, with many also enjoying successful pro careers, including International Tennis Hall of Famers Stan Smith, Rafael Osuna, Alex Olmedo and Dennis Ralston, as well as Bob Lutz, Raul Ramirez, Butch Walts and Joaquin Loyo Mayo. In 2012, Steve Johnson received a tennis scholarship in this program and completed his USC career having won 72 consecutive singles matches. He repeated as the NCAA individual champion, (2011 + 2012).
The program experienced a major turnaround when former coach Brian Boland was hired as head coach in 2002. In his third season, he led the team to their first ACC regular season and tournament titles. The Cavaliers reached their first finals of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship in 2011, falling to the USC Trojans by a score of 4-3. Boland would lead the team to the program’s first NCAA title two years later, with the Cavaliers defeating UCLA in the finals.
The team has won the NCAA championship four times, in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Their 2013 title was the first men’s tennis title won by an ACC team. Additionally, the team has also won the ITA National Team Indoor Championship six times. The Cavaliers have won the ACC regular season title 13 times, all consecutively from 2004 to 2016. They were also the ACC Tournament champions in 11 of those years. From April 2006 to February 2016, the Virginia Cavaliers men’s tennis team beat 140 consecutive ACC opponents. This winning streak is a record across all ACC sports.
On May 24, 2017, Andres Pedroso was named director of tennis and head coach of the team, replacing Boland who had accepted the Head of Men’s Tennis position at USTA Player Development.
The Stanford Cardinal is the nickname of the athletic teams that represent Stanford University. Stanford’s program has won 114 NCAA team championships, as well as 23 consecutive NACDA Directors’ Cups, awarded annually to the most successful overall college sports program in the nation. Stanford’s teams compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) for college football) level as a member of the Pac-12 Conference, along with other schools from the western third of the United States.
The Cardinal have won 17 NCAA Men’s tennis championships: 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981,1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000.
Do you know Patrick or Johm McEnroe? Or the Bryan Brothers? They all studied and played for Stanford…
The Men’s and Women’s Varsity Tennis teams have showed success both individually and as a team. Both the men’s and women’s teams share the outdoor tennis facility, the Stickney Tennis Center, dedicated in 1993. When the weather takes them indoors, both teams play at the Varsity Tennis Center, which was recently completed in November 2007. The outdoor facility has 12 courts and the indoor has six courts and are both located in Columbus, Ohio.
Men’s Tennis – Big Ten Championships – 1915 (co-champions), 1943, 1991, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament Team Appearances (since 1977) – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 The Men’s tennis team has 23 NCAA Singles Appearances, 11 NCAA Doubles Appearances and eight All-Americans.
University of Texas coach Michael Center has led the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament in each of their 14 seasons, including three trips to the Final Four. In addition to this, he has directed 49 Academic All-Big 12 teams. Also six times during the last decade, his teams obtained a perfect GSR, with no score lower than 88%. Regarding the university, Texas is the fourth in the ranking of the state; The school ranks second after MIT in federal non-medical research grants. Engineering, physical sciences, biofuels, carbon dioxide storage and solar cell technology are the strengths.
The TCU Tennis teams play their home matches at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center, rated the #1 facility in the nation by Tennis Magazine.
The TCU Men’s Tennis team was coached by Dave Borelli. Before he became coach of the men’s team, Borelli coached the TCU Women’s Tennis team four years before. They are the 2005–2006 Mountain West Conference Tournament Champions. Currently, the horned frogs are coached by David Roditi. TCU men’s tennis has been ranked as high as #3 in the country.
The Illinois men’s tennis program was founded in 1908, but has enjoyed most of its success in recent years.
The Illini have been one of the most successful men’s tennis programs in the nation over the past twenty seasons, winning nine consecutive Big Ten Championships from 1997-2005; six of seven Big Ten Tournament Championships between 1999 and 2005; appearing in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen fourteen times, including eight years in a row (2002–09); advancing to three NCAA Final Fours between 2003 and 2007; and winning the 2003 NCAA National Championship.
Illinois men’s tennis won two ITA National Team Indoor Championships in 2003 and 2004, and reached the championship match three other times in 1998, 1999, and 2002.
Illinois men’s tennis owns the record for longest consecutive win streak in NCAA history at 64 matches, spanning from their first match of the 2002-2003 season and ending with a 4-2 defeat by UCLA in the semifinals of the 2004 NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament.
Kevin Anderson, who got to the final at the US Open in 2017, received a tennis scholarship from this university.
The Oklahoma Sooners are the athletic teams that represent the University of Oklahoma, located in Norman. The 19 men’s and women’s varsity teams are called the “Sooners”, a reference to a nickname given to the early participants in the Land Rush of 1889, which initially opened the Unassigned Lands in the future state of Oklahoma to non-native settlement. The university’s athletic teams compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Division I in the Big 12 Conference. The university’s current athletic director is Joe Castiglione.
In 2002, the University of Oklahoma was ranked as the third best college sports program in America by Sports Illustrated.
The North Carolina Tar Heels men’s tennis team, commonly referred to as Carolina, represents the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in NCAA Division I college tennis. North Carolina currently competes as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and plays its home matches at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
With 363 victories at Chapel Hill, Sam Paul is the fourth most successful coach in ACC’s history. He has been chosen ACC Coach of the Year six times in 22 seasons. Also his players have been named as the first All-Americans team 20 times. And his teams have registered a perfect GSR for three consecutive years.
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