This page is to give swimmers the resources and tools needed in order to become a future student-athlete. The college recruiting process has changed over the years, especially in swimming. Today, there are more websites popping up that are designed to help high school athletes get recruited. Below are a few websites we believe are most helpful for our athletes. There are 600+ swimming programs in the country, there is place for you! All information listed below was made possible by the NCAA, CIAC and USA Swimming.
Do you want to swim in college? Do not know where to begin? Here is some helpful information about the steps on how to be recruited:
- Register with the NCAA by the end of Junior year. There is a common misconception that if a swimmer is good enough to swim in college, coaches & schools will find you. The truth is that most colleges do not have the resources to reach out to each swimmer that could be a good fit for their program- the initiative must come from the swimmer.
- Be realistic with finances. With the scholarship limits that are imposed by the NCAA, most college coaches are going to be looking at a student’s academic ability. The vast majority of swimming student athletes receive academic related scholarships, grants, and student loans. There is a possibility to earn an athletic scholarship, but those come few & far between.
- An athletic scholarship is a one-year contract between you and a Division I or Division II institution. Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships. 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 some college programs 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.
- 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.
- Make a list. Create a list of schools that includes the following information; interested academic major, division of swimming/athletics, study abroad programs (yes or no), misc. programs within that school that seem enjoyable. You can add things to this list, but it is a starting point.
- Fill out the student-athlete questionnaires on each school’s website.
- Hopefully someone has gotten back to you from the questionnaires you filled out. Even if they haven’t, visit these schools! Make a plan to visit each school you are seriously considering applying to (try to keep the list at less than 10). When you make your plans to visit these schools, email a coach and let them know you are making the trek. Most of the time, one of the coaches or student-athletes will try visit with you if they feel you may be a good fit for their school.
- Once you’ve visited these schools, narrow down your list. Take everything into consideration, and whittle the list down to five schools.
- Train hard and kick absolutely BUTT during your junior year of high school & club swimming, as well as your academics! College coaches will track your progress in both.
- At the conclusion of your seasons, set up your Official Visits. Official visits are when stay at the school from two to three nights to get a feel for what it would be like to be a student-athlete at the school. This is an essential experience, and will absolutely be the difference-maker in your college search process. These visits take place in the fall of a swimmer’s senior year.
- At this point, you’ll make your final decisions with the help of your parents, coaches, and loved ones. You’ve done all of the homework and the leg work to make an informed decision about college- so make it & celebrate!
Here are some helpful links to make more sense of this intense (but fun!) process;
This can be a long and stressful process, but don't let it discourage you! In the end, the friendships, memories, and connections you make through being a student-athlete will be life-changing.