Choosing a college is scary enough, but adding the possibility of being a collegiate athlete can make it quite difficult. Some swimmers may get calls, letters, emails, etc. from colleges telling them about their programs and most may not. It is up to you to make the first contact with a team. Most teams have websites and they ask you to go to the recruits page to register. What do you do if you want to swim in college? We have gathered some information to make this process easier for you and your parents. Also, we have spoken to many coaches and they want to see leadership skills, grades, and your swimming times (they look at times from High School state, Sectionals and other big meets or through professional recruiters (not agents) before bringing you onto their team as there are more scholarships and financial aid for academics than there are for swimming due to NCAA and school bugets (what do they look for?). Here is a timeline to help get you started and five things to consider about college!
From the NCAA website, you can get information on:
Initial Eligibility/Clearinghouse (see your High School guidance counselor----take care of this paperwork before your junior year. This must be done before you take a trip to a school)
Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete (read this booklet carefully with your parents and club coach!).
Athletic Scholarship: An athletic scholarship is a one-year contract between you and a Division I or Division II institution. A school can reduce or cancel a scholarship if you become ineligible for competition, fraudulently misrepresent yourself, quit the team or engage in serious misconduct. During the contract year, a coach cannot reduce or cancel your scholarship on the basis of your athletic ability, performance, or injury. An institution may choose to not renew a scholarship at the end of the academic term provided they notify you in writing and provide you an opportunity for a hearing.
Remember a coach cannot offer you a "four year full-ride scholarship." They do not exist. Each student athlete award is reviewed annually. It is important to ask current collegiate swimmers if they are still on scholarship. Parents, it is not uncommon for a college program to offer and renew an athletic scholarship for the first 2-3 years of college and then ask the student to pay full tuition for the remainder of their college career.
National Letter of Intent: The National Letter of Intent is administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association (not the NCAA). When you sign the National Letter of Intent you agree to attend the institution with which you signed for one academic year in exchange for the institution awarding financial aid, including athletics aid, for one academic year.
College Recruiting Links
Five most important college recruiting considerations
NCAA Prospective Student Athlete - Eligibility Center
Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete
General Collegiate Swimming Information
NCAA - National Collegiate Athletic Organization
NAIA - National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
NJCAA - National Junior College Athletic Association
General College, Scholarship, and Financial Aid Information
FinAid! - Financial Aid, College Scholarships and Student Loans
Savingforcollege.com - Funding College and 529 Plans
CollegeApps.com - Get In To The College of Your Choice
FastWeb - Scholarships, Financial Aid and Colleges
Scholarship Resource Network Express
Degree Directory - Colleges, Universities, Career Schools and Online Degree Programs
Vault Education Center
National Association for College Admission Counseling
National Association of Higher Education Loan Programs
CampusTours - Virtual College Tours
College Admission Profiles
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
US Department of Education
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid
ACT, SAT, PSAT National Merit Scholar Testing
College Board - SAT Registration, College Admissions, Scholarships
ACT - Student Site for ACT Test
Achievement Testing Study and Preparation Links
ACT - Student Site for ACT Test
4Tests - Free Online Practice Exams
Number2 - Free Online Test Prep
Barron’s Test Prep
College Power Prep
Kaplan Test Prep
Test Prep Review
How to Study - Study Skills/
Free Tuition for Smart Kids
Guide to Finding the College That Fits
Hidden College Cost: Rising Fees
How I Did on the SAT
Pre-Pay Your Way to College
The Incredible Climbing Cost Of College
The New Battle Over Financial Aid
Who Needs Harvard?
College Search Sites
Thanks to King, Team Eugene and New Wave for help with these links!