June 11, 2018

Volleyball Recruiting and Academically Elite Schools


I came across your website and QAs. I am not sure if your site is still active. I enjoyed reading your answers to other parents and find them very informative. 

I would like to receive some insight from you about my daughter’s options. 
She will be a junior soon. She has a 4.0 GPA with many AP classes. She has a good record volunteering. She’s been playing volleyball since 4th grade and has been in variety of clubs since 5thgrade (U11), most of those clubs were well known in our state of Washington but she was not in the top teams. We tried different clubs each other and she had many summer camps as well. She’s been playing varsity at her high school since freshman year. However, her school is relatively small and though it should have been under D3 category, they actually compete in D2 since there aren’t any other similar schools around, hence they always rank low in the region. She’s been one of the top players in that school and captain of the team. She’s 5’5”, has been playing as a left OH and her hits are consistent. She’s a great server. Her secondary position is DS which she’s good at. She can also set and is a back up setter. She’s not great at jumping though. 

Academics are more important to her. But we wonder if applying for volleyball D3 would increase her chances of getting into an exceptionally good school. What Elite schools and Ivy Leagues have D3 and D2 that she would be a good fit for and we should consider? Would volleyball help her get an acceptance over other similarly honored tudets? Any comments, suggestions, and ideas are welcome. 

Thank you,


Thank you for your email question and I have been quite lax on keeping the website updated - My day job with NCSA = Next College Student Athlete was a bit nuts through the club season but now I am back answering questions!

The first thing that college coaches look at is talent; does a player have the talent to make their team better.  All the other attributes of a player (grades, personality, work ethic, hair style, etc) are secondary to talent when coaches take that first look at a recruit.  Recruiting elite talent allows coaches to keep cashing a paycheck, and hopefully jump to another better paycheck.  

Because of your daughter's height and her average jumping ability, she would need to focus on the Defensive Specialist/Libero position if she wishes to play college volleyball at any level.  Her talent level will determine what collegiate level she can play at.

In terms of admission to academically elite schools, it depends upon the admission criteria of each school.  Some schools take athletics into account when reviewing a prospective student, while others pay no attention.  

My suggestions:

1) Have your daughter focus on the Libero/DS position moving forward with club (high school is a situation where she needs to play where the coach needs her to play), and then concentrate on skill development.  The better her talent the more numerous her collegiate options will be.

2) By using the web or NCSA's Free or Premium site, you can start researching which schools are academically elite, along with fitting any geographic and financial preferences of your family.

Because of her position, she needs to cast a wide net (all divisions/all organizations - NCAA and NAIA) when considering schools and then she must use email/videos to reach out to college programs as to promote herself.  

The Libero/DS position is arguably the most competitive recruiting position as a result of the sheer volume of players within this position.  Sitting back and hoping that something works out just because you play club is not going to get the job done; club is the vehicle but the player/family must be the one doing the driving!

Good luck!


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