November 7, 2008

Ivy League Volleyball Question

My daughter is a junior and is planning on applying to four Ivy League schools based on her academic goals, and would also love to play volleyball in college. She is a 6’ tall strong player. My question is, as I understand it, these schools offer no scholarships, but being on the team can make admission a bit more attainable. Are there any nuances in approaching Ivy League coaches with interest in their volleyball programs? Thanks for any insight and suggestions about how to approach these programs, or what to expect. All the best! Barbara

I will admit that my overall knowledge of the Ivy League is limited. It is my understanding that the league rules do not allow funding of athletically based scholarships. In this regard, it is like Division III volleyball-athletics. What I am not sure about, is the influence of volleyball upon the other forms of scholarship and/or admission.

My suggestion is to approach the Ivy League schools in the same manner as you would approach any other school. Be proactive in contacting schools, be proactive in illustrating your daughter's academic and athletic ability and be absolutely without hesitation about asking questions.

The Ivy League is full of great academic institutions that enjoy a certain reverence within the world of higher education. But, do not be afraid to ask direct questions and expect to receive direct answers. While the Admissions staff at these schools may be high brow, or elitist (or incredible approachable - only interaction will tell), the volleyball coaches are volleyball coaches. They love the sport, they want good players and good people in their program and their job is to recruit to build winning teams.

Many universities will publish the freshman class academic profile (gpa, class rank and test scores) on their websites. With this information, you can get a general picture of where your daughter stands. This also allows you to speak with the coaches in a knowledgeable manner. The athletic part should be self evident; if they are recruiting your daughter seriously, then they are seriously interested.

If the Ivy League schools are not recruiting your daughter then you have to ask yourself a question - Do they know about her? If the answer is yes, and they are not recruiting her, then she should consider just walking on to participate in college volleyball, but I would hesitate to believe any support for admission and/or financial aid would accrue from the volleyball program.

If the answer is no, then you must act quickly to get her on the radar of the college coaches. Please follow my Recruiting Plan, but limit the colleges/universities to those within the Ivy League. Even though your daughter is just a junior, the elite institutions start their evaluation process (Latin for making cuts) much, much earlier than one would think.

The Reader's Digest answer to your question is don't do anything special, just be proactive to communicate and gather information.

Good luck and I hope your daughter is able to achieve her academic and athletic goals!