The pathway to US college tennis and the potential to receive an athletic scholarship is an incredible opportunity. Not only is US college tennis a great athletic and academic opportunity for a young aspiring tennis player and has a tremendous financial value, but there are many intangible benefits from pursuing this worthy pathway.
The US College Tennis Pathway
Parents might be wondering and/or worrying why they are investing so much into their U10, U12 son or daughter’s tennis development, but the fact is that it is an investment and like any other investment you are putting money into something with a goal of short-term and/or long-term gain. The US college tennis pathway starts with U10 and U12 players testing their skills at summer community clubs, then joining year-round competitive tennis programs and competing at local, provincial, national and potentially international events from U10 to U18 age groups.
Note: Although many athletes start playing and competing early in their junior careers, it is important to know that it is quite possible to pick up a racquet at a later age and attain an athletic scholarship to a US college.
After graduating from U18 junior tennis and High School, these youngsters are ready to pursue a US tennis scholarship. This pathway is as a way to continue to play the game that many young athletes love and be a part of a team working together towards common goals all while enjoy the camaraderie with teammates and develop life-long friendships and relationships.
Tangible Benefits of College Tennis
The average value of an athletic scholarship PER YEAR for an international student attending a US college can range from $40,000.00 – $100,000.00. This amounts to $160,000 to $400,000 for that athlete to attain a four-year undergraduate degree while traveling the United States playing collegiate tennis.
The value of earning a college degree at world class universities like Stanford, Harvard, Michigan and Yale will help build a foundation for a young athlete to succeed in many future endeavours. “Education is among the highest values in our life; a wonderful type of personal socialization will take place in an “educational” environment, different from that which transpires in the “professional” tennis world. Studies have shown that on average, possessing a college degree versus a high school degree is valued at over one million dollars across the lifetime of a wage earner; and, this does not take into account those who continue their education and gain a graduate or additional professional degree.”
Non-Tangible Benefit of College Tennis
The non-tangible benefits of playing college tennis are as important, although not as clearly defined. Having a college degree, especially from a first rate institution, greatly improves ones chances of getting a good job after graduation. Plus the maturity, independence and teamwork skills give players the tools to succeed in their post-tennis careers. Getting a college degree is also the most effective route to graduate school. Even those hoping to succeed on the pro tour have something of great value to fall back on should they not succeed.
Current Canadian Players Participating in College Tennis
Here are some examples of Canadian tennis players who started playing as a junior, decided to continue their tennis careers and schooling at a US college and after graduating will have the option to continue their pro tennis careers or become a successful professional in the working world.
Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, ON) Signed with Stanford University
- WTA career-high singles ranking of 555, 375 in doubles, Quarter-finalist in WTA $50,000 event, ITF Jr. Ranking #9
Roman Trkulja (Toronto, ON) Signed with Penn State University
- Two-time Canadian national champion in singles and doubles, Captured three provincial titles in singles play and four provincial titles in doubles action
Samuel Monette (Montreal, QC) Signed with Indiana University
- Ranked #1 in Canada U18, ITF Jr. Ranking #269
Tania Rice (Burlington, ON) Signed with Pepperdine University
- Top 3 Junior U18, Member of Jr. Fed Cup team
Sarah Lotto (Toronto, ON) Signed with Penn State University
- Top 10 Junior U18
Petra Januskova (Ottawa, ON) Signed with Penn State University
- Top 5 Junior U18
Riaan Du Toit (Abbotsford, BC) Signed with University of New Mexico
- ITF Jr. Ranking #251, Placed 5th at U14 Nationals
Kimberley-Ann Surin (Montreal, QC) Signed with the University of Arkansas
- ITF Jr. Ranking #159, Multi-time National Junior Champion
Other Success stories
There are many examples of college tennis players who have had success on the pro tour in recent years, to include: James Blake, John Isner, Mike and Bob Bryan, Lisa Raymond, Jill Craybas and Vanessa Webb. The more impressive story, however, is the success that a long list of former US college tennis players have had in their chosen fields after graduation. In the 1980’s, Al Parker from Atlanta, Georgia was the most decorated junior tennis player in the history of American junior tennis with more junior national titles than anyone, including Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. He attended college in his home state at the University of Georgia and graduated before starting the pro tour. A back injury and inconsistent results let to a short and unsuccessful pro career. He went on to graduate from Harvard Business School and has been extraordinarily successful in the financial world. There are also prominent politicians, judges, countless doctors and many successful business executives who all played US college tennis.
Making this Dream a Reality
Attaining a scholarship as a Canadian student-athlete in the sport of tennis can pose many questions that may leave you confused. This guide will answer those questions and give you, the prospective student-athlete, a more knowledgeable background of intercollegiate athletics in the United States as an international athlete. The following eight components will serve as your guide.
- Getting Started
- Achieving an Athletic Scholarship
- Academics and Eligibility
- Intercollegiate Athletics
- Recruiting Process and Recruiters
- Being an International Student-Athlete
- Resources and References
Each component will be divided up into sub-categories that will explain the main topics in that field. In addition, there are websites that will assist in answering any questions you have or additional information you require.
Why College Tennis?
College tennis in the United States is an exciting and rewarding experience. College tennis gives you, the student athlete, the ability to improve your tennis while furthering your education and earning an accredited bachelors degree.
The requirements of a student athlete will range from attending classes, study, daily tennis practice and conditioning, rehabilitation of injuries and travel for competition. Intercollegiate athletics is a great stepping stone for athletes who want to physically and mentally develop their tennis game before entering the professional tour or to give you a unique experience and opportunity to compete and further your education. As a student athlete, you will be provided with personalized coaching, conditioning and match practice within a team environment that will bring the essence of your game up to its optimal level.
There is a tremendous financial value for aiming for an athletic scholarship.
Financial Considerations: The monetary value of a US College Tennis Scholarship
Depending on the scholarship percentage their school has to offer, athletes can receive amounts varying from paying for school books to a “full ride” covering the entire cost of college, tuition, room, board, books and equipment.
If you do not receive athletic scholarship aid, some student-athletes are offered a position on their school’s tennis team and receive an academic scholarship (depending on their SAT grades and high school transcripts). Other student athletes may be offered a part academic scholarship and part athletic scholarship. Even if you do not receive any type of scholarship, college athletes may collect other significant benefits.
- Priority in scheduling classes
- Help with note taking when a class is missed
- Streamlined registration for courses
- Tutoring help