Getting A Volleyball Scholarship
Volleyball is listed as being among those college sports that can be played by male and female students. While the sport does not have the same level of exposure as college basketball or football, most of the large universities and colleges do have volleyball teams. Coaches and administration for those teams are, of course, eager to scout out talented players. In the event said players do not have the financial resources to get into the school that has scouted them, most educational institutions have some form of scholarship program in place.
In general, volleyball is seen as more of a woman's sport in the college level than a man's sport, so most volleyball scholarship slots would be reserved for women. Most colleges have a tendency to neglect the male volleyball division in favor of putting in more funding towards the male basketball and football teams. In contrast, female volleyball teams often obtain the same level of attention and funding as the male basketball equivalent, so it is easier for a female player to obtain a scholarship for volleyball than a male. The number of scholarships in this particular sport has been on the increase recently, though the focus remains heavily placed on female prospects.
Prominent Institutions with Volleyball Programs
Educational institutions that have respectable athletic departments usually have at least a few scholarship slots, though there will generally be more focus on basketball and football for smaller schools. The standards for obtaining a scholarship from a prominent school can be very difficult, as only the highest level of both academic and athletic talent are taken as potential candidates. In some occasions, members of the school's own athletic department will scout out potential talents and attempt to convince them to enroll in the said school, but scholarships are usually decided upon by administrators.
The UCLA itself offers scholarships to gifted athletes, even though the organization also has limited slots for both male and female volleyball scholarships, with standards further constrained by limited funding. Typically, the standards of the UCLA are much higher than those of a university or college. Players who get into this typically have a wider range of choices on which university to enroll in, but the UCLA typically has standards that may be harder to meet than most schools.
The NCAA also offers scholarships for volleyball players, both male and female, but the difficulty lies in getting the application noticed. There are several hundred applicants per year, making the process a difficult one to get into. Details such as both one's academic and athletic competition history will play a large role in the screening process for an applicant. The sheer number of people applying makes it difficult to get noticed, so an applicant should be able to find a way for him to get noticed by the people in charge.
The NAIA also poses as an alternative for athletes seeking out a good scholarship but unable to make the application go far in the crowded NCAA pool. The NAIA typically only has very few slots, but the number of applicants is also usually low. While the requirement for athletic ability is still top-notch and comparable to the demanding standards of the UCLA or NCAA, the academic aspect of the requirements is more flexible, with a lower GPA requirement for both getting and keeping the scholarship. The NAIA also has less restrictions on what division the student belongs to, which makes it an appealing alternative to the perceived bureaucracy of that aspect of scholarships when applying with the UCLA or NCAA.
Difficulty In Getting a Volleyball Scholarship
Surprisingly, the hardest part of getting a volleyball scholarship often is not the strict academic standards that must be met before the application is approved. In reality, the hardest requirement for getting a scholarship is the athletic standards that institutions demand of their prospective scholars. The typical high school athlete doesn't have enough skill to satisfy most screening processes, while the truly-exceptional ones may still be considered too “rough” for collegiate sports. Coaches are told to scout for players who have the talent needed to compete at an incredible level, though such players tend to be rare.
Another problem would be the lack of scholarship institutions one can turn to. There are very few institutions that focus heavily on volleyball, which makes the sport receive less funding than other sports. While women's volleyball is on a nearly equal footing with basketball, wrestling, and football, scholarships are few and far between. Smaller educational institutions do not typically keep a large roster of players for volleyball. While larger ones do retain bigger rosters than others, the required level of athletic ability is also set to a higher bar.