Read this before you start your recruiting process.
If you’re just beginning your volleyball recruiting process, it’s natural to have plenty of questions. Hopefully, we’ve answered the most commonly asked of those questions right here:
Can I Get A Scholarship For Volleyball?
The short answer is, “Yes.” The longer answer isn’t that simple. There are college volleyball scholarships available for both women and men. However, as women’s programs outnumber men’s teams by about a 7 to 1 ratio, there are far more scholarship opportunities for women. Further, as men’s volleyball is an equivalency sport at the DI and DII levels, each team is allowed a total of only 4.5 scholarships, which can be allotted into many partial scholarships. That means the odds of landing a full-ride men’s volleyball scholarship are long.
For women’s volleyball players, the outlook is much brighter. At the Division I level, there are 337 women’s programs (compared to just 23 for men). And, since women’s volleyball is considered a headcount sport, each of those programs has 12 full-ride scholarships to offer. At the DII level, there are 293 women’s programs, each with eight scholarships available. However, in DII, women’s volleyball is an equivalency sport and those eight scholarships can be divided into any number of partial scholarships to provide at least some financial aid to more athletes.
What Are My Odds Of Playing College Volleyball?
Given the scholarship disparity between men’s and women’s volleyball, the odds of competing at any level in college are actually comparable. Roughly 5.8% of female volleyball players go on to compete collegiately, while for men, the percentage is about 5.6%. Given the total number of players compared to the total roster spots available, the odds of making a college roster are 17 to 1 for women and 18 to 1 for men.
Note that the numbers above are simply based on the opportunity to compete at any college level. When it comes to Division I scholarships, only 1.1% of females and 0.7% of males earn scholarships and the odds of doing so are 89 to 1 for women and 147 to 1 for men. Again, those numbers are for Division I schools and don’t consider scholarship availability at DII or NAIA schools or junior colleges.
What’s My Best Chance For a Volleyball Scholarship?
As noted above, roughly the top 1.1% of women and 0.7% of men earn Division I scholarships. But if you’re not among those top-end percentages, don’t give up hope. Division II schools can offer eight scholarships per team for women and 4.5 for men. However, as an equivalency sport at the DII level, volleyball coaches can mete out those scholarships in the form of a number of partial scholarships, so long as the total doesn’t exceed the maximum for each team.
On top of that, NAIA schools boast more men’s volleyball programs than DI and DII combined and each team can offer a maximum of eight scholarships. And, with 224 women’s programs, each with a maximum of eight scholarships, there are ample scholarship opportunities for women at NAIA schools too.
For women’s volleyball scholarships, however, junior colleges top everyone. With 346 schools offering women’s volleyball, each with a maximum of 14 scholarships, junior colleges may be an ideal choice to earn a volleyball scholarship for two years while you prepare for the next level. In addition, while fully funded JUCO programs can offer 14 scholarships, the average roster is only 13 players, so a junior college may also offer better odds of a full-ride scholarship.
Do I Have Other Options If I Don’t Get A Volleyball Scholarship?
The answer to this one is an unequivocal “Yes!” You may have noticed there’s been no mention of NCAA Division III schools in any scholarship options, even though there are 436 women’s volleyball teams and 115 men’s squads in DIII. And the reason for that is, DIII schools don’t offer athletic scholarships. However, the majority of those DIII schools do offer many academic scholarship opportunities. And that means, even if you don’t land a volleyball scholarship, an academic scholarship at a DIII can still help cover your college expenses while you compete at the college level. The key to an academic scholarship, of course, is a solid academic record, GPA, and entrance exam scores. So, if you’re lacking in one of those areas, get working to get your grades up so that you can have every opportunity to play volleyball at the next level.
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