Guide to Playing College Tennis

John Isner enjoyed a successful college tennis career before turning pro in 2007. Photo: Getty Sports
It is never too early to start planning for college.

The more you know the more informed you will be when it comes to making one of the most important decisions of your life. There are many opportunities to play collegiate tennis, the more research you do the more options you will have.

You can start as early as your freshman or sophomore year. Meet with your guidance counselor to ensure you are taking the required core courses. The Preparation Calendar for College Tennis will help you with this. When you are ready, download or request the following resources:

??Go online to NCAA.org and download a free copy of the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete. This is an invaluable tool and a great guide. The NAIA also provides a free download of their NAIA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete

? Download your copy of the USTA Guide to Tennis on College Campuses

Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse
If you want to play DI or II tennis as a freshman, you must register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse (the clearinghouse). The clearinghouse is not the NCAA, but an organization that evaluates student-athlete academic records to determine eligibility to participate in DI or II college athletics as a freshman.

Do not register until after your junior year. If you have completed your junior year, go online to ncaaclearinghouse.net and complete the student release form online.

NOTE: Initial-eligibility certification from the clearinghouse does not guarantee your admission to any DI or II college. You must apply for college admission separately.

DIII does not use the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. Each Division III school has its own requirements and they do vary from school to school. Contact the DIII colleges you are interested in and request information regarding academic requirements for student-athletes.

What are you looking to get out of your college experience?
Assess what you want out of your college experience and the relative importance of each requirement:
??Academic
??Tennis opportunities
??Career preparation
??Social
??What part of the country do you want to attend school / distance from home
??Size of the college/university
??Public vs. private
??Religious affiliation
??Scholarships and financial aid

Realistically evaluate what you have to offer to potential schools. When you have answered these important questions start making a list of schools.

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