- Compete in Top-Level Events to Get Ranking Up
- Reach Out to Desired Colleges
- Put Pen to Paper and Away You Go
Getting a tennis scholarship in the USA is an ambition shared by many tennis players.
This is the avenue that I went down for my tennis career, and I DON’T REGRET IT WHATSOEVER.
But then again, while I would recommend this path for most people, it isn’t for everyone.
I’ve had friends that decided to turn professional, friends that got TOO HOMESICK and left and friends that decided to do university in their Home Country instead.
These are all things you must weigh up before pursuing a tennis scholarship in the USA.
However, if you decide that you do want to seek a tennis scholarship, you can give yourself the best shot by following my tips above.
If you are a junior, you’ll want to start competing in top-level junior events, ideally ITFs.
And if you are a senior, you may want to consider playing some future events.
It is likely that if you are a top player, colleges will actually approach you, instead of needing to reach out.
But everyone’s path is different.
With this said, securing a tennis scholarship in the USA can be broken down into two phases, as I’ve discussed below.
(A) The Preparation Phase
Once you’ve actually decided that you want to get a tennis scholarship in the USA, it’s time to start planning.
If you are a male, you will obviously be pursuing a male tennis scholarship.
And if you are a female, you’ll obviously be looking for a female tennis scholarship.
There’s GOOD NEWS if you are a female too, as there are more scholarships available for female tennis players than for men!
But regardless, the preparation phase still remains the same:
1) Competing in Tournaments
If you are thinking about a scholarship in the USA, there’s a fair chance that you are already competing in tournaments.
Some of you might be competing on a national level, and many of you might be competing on an international level.
Either way, it’s important that you boost your ranking as best you can to ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF PRESTIGIOUS COLLEGES.
Personally, I received my scholarship due to performances in international events and because of my ITF ranking.
However, it is possible to do this by simply having a TOP NATIONAL RANKING TOO.
2) Take Your SATs
If you are from overseas like me, you likely have no idea what SATs even mean!
I have to admit, I didn’t before I started looking at the process required for my own scholarship to come through.
But for those who don’t know, SATs are basically College Entrance Exams, and you should try and study for them as best you can.
Your score might determine whether you get any kind of academic assistance, financially, and it can even determine whether you get into a specific college or not.
So it’s better to take them seriously and brush up on your math and English skills!
3) Reach Out to Various Colleges
If your ranking isn’t spectacular, the initial connections with college coaches might need to come from yourself.
You can easily obtain the email addresses of various coaches through a quick online search, and don’t be afraid of REACHING OUT TO THEM.
The worst they can do is not email you back or decline your interest in a scholarship.
But the good news is that the USA is full of great colleges, so your options ARE PLENTIFUL.
Once a connection is made, they might want to SEE YOU PLAYING too, which is why some players prefer to make a QUICK VIDEO and send this off.
I didn’t do this, but I know of many guys that did.
(B) The Execution Phase
After you’ve laid the foundations for obtaining a tennis scholarship in the USA, it’s time to put the finishing pieces together.
It’s a very exciting time, but you still need to make sure that you do things correctly, which brings me to the execution phase:
1) Go Through the NCAA Clearinghouse
There are multiple divisions that you can play in for college tennis.
And in order to decide which division you are eligible to compete in, you’ll need to go through the NCAA Clearinghouse.
This is necessary for all potential scholarship candidates, and these guys weigh up things like your academics, professional status, and more.
You’ll need to be approved by this body before accepting a scholarship for each respective division too.
2) Assess Your Options
If you are a great player, you’ll likely receive a bunch of offers for scholarships in various parts of the USA.
But each scholarship offer will not be the same – that I can promise you.
Your scholarship will be offered as a percentage, which will cover a portion of your tuition, accommodation, meals, and other things too.
Of course, the higher the percentage, the less you must pay each semester. With that said, the figures alone shouldn’t dictate your decision.
I highly recommend researching the college, its academic programs, and whether you believe this would be a good fit before jumping at any offer.
3) Pick One and Get Your Visa (If Necessary)
At the end of the day, if you are to officially take a tennis scholarship in the USA, you’ll need to put pen to paper.
Take your time in looking at your options, and ensure that you’ve taken everything into consideration BEFORE MAKING YOUR DECISION.
And once you’ve picked which college you’d like to go to, it’s time to let the coach know and start putting things in place.
Only once you’ve received and accepted an offer can you then get your visa for the USA, if you are a foreign student, of course.
You’ll need to book an appointment at the US embassy for this, and you’ll also need to obtain a form called an I-20 from the college you will attend.
Finally, once all of this has gone smoothly, you will then jet out to begin your scholarship.
And if it is anything like my experience, you’ll have a great time!
Has this article helped you understand the process better? Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Please share your thoughts in the comments!