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USTA Eastern
70 West Red Oak Lane
White Plains, NY 10604
P: (914) 697-2300
F: (914) 694-2402

 

FAQ

Questions And Answers

How do I know if I should be playing college tennis or professional tennis?

  • This decision is actually not as difficult as it seems.  If a player has solid pro results as a junior player then he or she may need to weigh the benefits of each option for his or her development. 
  • Without significant play (and wins) in Pro Circuit and Tour level events, then a player is probably not ready to turn pro. 
  • College tennis is a huge time for player development and growth—99.9% of our junior players will progress to college before embarking on a pro tennis career.

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When/how do I know if I have a shot at an athletic scholarship? When and what do I do to find out?

  • The first thing to find out is if the school you at which you are looking offers athletic scholarships.  We will provide a list below that shows the programs that offer tennis and the programs that offer athletic scholarships.
  • College coaches utilize a number of tools to figure out the level of recruits early in the process;  these include USTA Rankings (both section and national), International Tennis Federation (ITF) Rankings, Universal Tennis Ratings (UTR), and Tennisrecruiting.net Star Ratings.  You too can utilize these to help you figure out if you are at the correct level for a particular program.
  • As you start to narrow the schools you are interested in, take a look at their “starters” (i.e. top 6 singles players)—are your rankings/ratings similar to the rankings/ratings of those players?  If the answer is yes, you could be a candidate for a scholarship. 
  • Once you’ve done your homework, and you know you are probably in the correct “range” for that program, it’s best to ask the coach straight out.  Most coaches will be more than willing to be honest with you.

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How many colleges have tennis programs? And which ones offer Athletic Scholarships?

  • There are over 1100 women’s programs and over 900 men’s programs spread out over five different divisions:
    • NCAA Division I
    • NCAA Division II
    • NCAA Division III
    • NAIA
    • Junior College
  • NCAA Divisions I & II, NAIA, and Junior College Programs all can offer Athletic Scholarships—although note that Ivy League Institutions, which compete at the DI level, do not offer athletic scholarships.  See below for maximum athletic scholarships allowed at each division.  Even though NCAA DIII programs cannot offer athletic scholarships, many programs can provide a large amount of academic and institutional aid. 
    • NCAA DI W:8, M: 4.5
    • NCAA DII W: 6, M: 4.5
    • NAIA W: 5, M: 5
    • Junior College W: 8, M: 8

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Where can I get a list of which colleges have men’s teams? Women’s teams?

  • For information on college tennis programs go to  the ITA website http://www.itatennis.com/
  • For a small fee ($60.00), junior players and their families can gain access to the ITA online directory, where they can access contact information for every college coach in the country.

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If I don’t get a scholarship can I still play in college?

  • Some college coaches actually recruit walk-ons while others hold tryouts in the fall.  This is something you can discuss with coaches on the front end of the recruiting process if you aren’t a candidate for a scholarship.
  • If Varsity tennis isn’t for you, Tennis On Campus provides an opportunity for the top non-varsity players on a campus to compete both sectionally and nationally through USTA sponsored events.
  • The USTA Tennis on Campus website has a directory of all Tennis on Campus programs nationwide.
  •  If your school does not have one, you can find information on how to start a club team through the Tennis on Campus Website as well.

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I want to play college tennis. When do I start? What do I do?

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When do I start? What do I do?

  • First, read the Forward to the USTA  Guide to Tennis on College Campuses by Patrick McEnroe.
  • As a high school freshman, begin thinking about what part of the country, class size and academic environment in which you want to spend your college years and read Chapter 1 ( Choosing a Path That Works for You)  & Chapter 2 (What Kind of Tennis Experience Works for You) in the USTA Guide .

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What about Financial Aid?

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How do I determine which colleges are a good match re: academics and tennis for me?

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Should I go to a summer tennis camp on a college campus?

  • Summer camps can be a wonderful opportunity for young players. Taking a break from the individual nature of junior tennis, summer camps allow players to interact with others, spend multiple hours a day practicing, and compete in a team atmosphere that mimics that of college tennis. 
  • It is also a great opportunity for you to start to get a feel for colleges—and their campuses.
  • However, attending a summer camp should also be something that you want to attend as coaches rarely use their summer camps for recruiting.

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What is the ideal parental involvement in the college tennis recruiting process?

  • One great thing to remember is that the student, not the parents, will be the one actually attending college and playing on the team.  College coaches and recruits forming a solid relationship is key in the recruiting process and hopefully will help the student select the best school for him/her. 
  • In addition, coaches will be impressed with the initiative that the student is showing – something that they are definitely looking for when recruiting student-athletes for their teams. 
  • With all of that in mind, parents should be there to support and guide their children through the process—but not to run the process!

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How do I contact the coach at the school I am interested in?

  • Read Chapter 7 (The Recruiting Process) in the USTA Guide.
  • E-mail is generally the best way to contact a college coach, although we recommend the student, not the parent, initiate that e-mail. As explained above, for a fee, junior players and their families can join the ITA to gain access to coach contact information, however almost every school has an athletics website which will contain a staff directory.  A coach’s e-mail address can usually be found there, and NCAA Division I coaches are able to e-mail your student back following the start of his or her junior year of high school. 
  • Coaches may also be contacted by phone.  If you initiate this contact, phone calls may be made at your convenience.  Keep in mind, however, that a NCAA Division I coach is unable to return his or her phone call until after July 1st following your junior year of High School. 

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What do you say in the e-mail?

  • In an initial email, a player should introduce themselves, indicate their graduation year, and provide a link to your full biography.  We recommend linking to a player’s FREE bio on the Tennis Recruiting NetworkThrough this bio coaches can access a player’s information such as USTA Tournament results, Test Scores, GPA, intended major, etc. 
  • Address the e-mail to the specific coach that you are reaching out to (i.e. Dear Coach John Smith or Coach Smith, not Dear Coach). 
  • Finally, you should express your interest in the school and ask the coach what other information they would like from you.  Most of the time the introductory e-mail should be short to ensure that the coach does read it.  If they are interested, they will follow up requesting the information that they need.

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How many players are usually on a tennis team?

  • On average, you can figure that a tennis team has 8-12 members.  This may vary by conference, Division, and school. 

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Are there minimum requirements for SAT scores and GPAs?

  • The NCAA has a SAT/GPA sliding scale requirement which may be found on the NCAA websiteHowever, just because a student meets this requirement does NOT mean they will meet minimum requirements for the particular college or university they are interested in.
  • Look at the admissions requirements for each school, found under Admissions on the school’s main website.  This information usually contains a profile of the freshman class and possibly minimum standards that incoming freshmen must meet which will give you an idea of where your student falls. 

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What else do I need to know about eligibility?

  • Eligibility varies by division and it is important to read Chapter 6 (Eligibility) in the USTA Guide to understand the variances.

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Once I have narrowed down the list, what is next?

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How can I find out if the college coach really wants me?

  • Ask questions. Just like you don’t want to put time into something that is not going to work out, neither does a coach.
  •  Ask questions about scholarships, playing time, and expectations upfront.  By answering these types of questions, a coach will be giving you a good idea of where you would potentially stand on their team. 

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What is more important to a coach, tennisrecruiting.net star ratings or a USTA standings list?

  • Both are great tools for a coach to initially assess a player’s level, however both are just that, tools.  Other tools coaches utilize include: Universal Tennis Ratings (UTR) and International Tennis Federation (ITF) Rankings.
  • Coaches are much more interested in players’ results; much more so than the number next to their name—regardless of who publishes that number. 
  • A majority of coaches prefer to see someone play more than anything and will make an effort to do so for all the players they are considering seriously.  If a coach can’t watch a player, often he or she will request a quick video of some match play.   Watching a player play a competitive match can help a coach gauge a player’s talent level, competitiveness, attitude, desire, love of the game, and ability to improve much better than looking at a ranking or even looking at results.

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How many hours are devoted to playing college tennis?

  • Playing a college sport is very demanding of an individual’s time.  Between travel, practice, matches, strength training, and meetings, college athletes’ days are filled with activity. 
  • The NCAA at the Division I level has implemented rules to limit the amount of time a student-athlete is required to participate in his/her sport each week. 
  • During the off-season this number is 8 hours, and during the season the number is 20 hours.  Even though each week may vary in schedule, at least players know how much time may be blocked out of their schedule. 
  • Other divisions and sometime conferences have similar sets of rules—some are even more strict. 

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How can I make up classes I missed due to away matches?

  • While classes are usually not able to be made up, teachers and professors are usually more than willing to work with student-athletes.  
  • The key to balancing the relationship between academics and athletics successfully is communicating with teachers ahead of time.  If students let their teachers know that they will be missing classes but would like to make arrangements to complete the work there is not usually an issue. 
  • Most schools have a policy for athletes that should be well communicated during the recruiting process.

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Where can I get academic help?

  • Most institutions have an academic center that is solely for use by their student-athletes and/or one for all students needing additional academic help.
  • While each school may have different resources, the basics usually include a study center/computer lab and an academic counselor(s).  These counselors are in place to help students learn study skills and successfully navigate their way through their courses. 
  • In addition, academic support centers for student-athletes generally hire tutors to assist in studying. 

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What should parental involvement be once a junior player transitions to college?

  • Parental support and encouragement is always appreciated by both players and coaches.  However, keep in mind that this period of your student’s life is one of much development.  They are, in essence, becoming adults throughout their college experience.
  •  Therefore, parents should encourage their children to assume responsibility for both their schedules and their actions.  If parents step in and assume too much of a role in assisting their children, they are actually hampering their child’s development. 
  • This is actually a great question for a parent to ask a college coach during the recruiting process.  Some have very specific parent policies for their teams.

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