There are three good ways to find out if you have what it takes to get a scholarship at college before even contacting a head or assistant coach for the first time! Today's Scholarship Guide will be about these three options you have as a junior tennis player, dreaming to play collegiate tennis.
Unless you are a top junior player with a high national or international ranking, your Road to College Tennis will start with the same question:
The best juniors will know for certain because they have been contacted by college coaches of the most prestigious tennis programs, but the same doesn't necessarily hold true for players who don't find themselves topping the rankings. Hence, the question this article will answer is:
Tennis programs look for players to make their program stronger. In order for coaches to have an interest, it is absolutely vital your level of tennis can have an impact on the team.
Benchmark yourself. The tennis world is a small one and chances are you have met somebody in a tournament who has played college tennis before. Could be your club tennis colleagues or your hitting partners. How did you do against them?
Maybe there are other players you haven't faced yet, but you know approximately how you would do in a match. Would it be a close match? Could you have a shot at winning or would you lose 10 out of 10 matches? How much older are the opponents and what would it take to get to the same level?
Once you have identified a player or two who have ties to college tennis, try to find out whether they joined a team on an athletic scholarship or as walk-on (no athletic scholarship). It should then be possible for you to find out what squad they played for, the conference, division, and the position in the line-up.
With that kind of information you are pretty well-equipped to make a first preliminary call and it's a crucial one:
Depending on the region you are from and the tournaments you have played, there is another way of determining for yourself whether you are strong enough for college: it is a rating which is provided by a company, collecting thousands of match results in order to calculate a player's rating:
For every player at college right now, a UTR is calculated, which can be found by logging on to the UTR platform.
Concerning your main worry - "Am I strong enough for college tennis?" - this means that you have all the ratings in place to find out. All you need is a UTR yourself.
Find out here whether you already have a UTR and if so, how high a rating you have obtained at this point.
If you can't see your name in the database, it means you haven't played the right tournaments yet. International tournament results are part of UTR's data collection, but if your experience is limited to national events, you are dependent on the extent of cooperation between Universal Tennis Rating and the particular National Tennis Associations.
For much more detailed insights on the UTR and its advantages for you, take a look at one of our most popular articles here:
"How To Identify Whether You Are Good Enough To Play College Tennis In The United States"
In case you already have a UTR, there is strong reason for you to be certain:
Last but not least, scholarship services have amassed a great deal of knowledge and experience in the area of college tennis recruiting. Their recruiting experts look at your results, your rankings, and ideally a video of you playing, and they can give you a very qualified assessment whether you have what it takes to play college tennis. As a matter of fact, reliable scholarship services will not take on your case unless they know with a substantial likelihood that you could be a future student-athlete. If you like to get the support of scholarship services, they offer to guide you through the process from the beginning all the way until you arrive at the college of your choice against payment of a fee.
Benchmarking, UTR, and Scholarship Services. But where should you start?
As soon as you feel confident to take on the recruiting process on your own (= you successfully ticked off 1. and 2.), you're good to get started for real. Sign up on Smarthlete and pack all the information about yourself as a player and student on your free recruiting profile. You're just a few clicks away from finding out how interesting you really are for college coaches by contacting them on Smarthlete right away.