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There are currently 142 Division I (DI) and 50 Division II (DII) colleges with male swim/dive programs and 185 DI and 64 DII colleges with female swim/dive programs. The NCAA limits the number of swim & dive scholarships that a College or University may offer. Male programs may offer 9.9 scholarships at DI colleges and 8.1 scholarships at DII colleges resulting in approximately 1800 possible scholarships. Female programs may offer 14 scholarships at DI colleges and 8.1 at DII colleges resulting in approximately 3100 possible scholarships. There are also limits put on at the NAIA (16 male and 19 female) and NJCAA (20 male and 21 female) levels.
With so few scholarships available for swim and dive it is imperative that you somehow distinguish yourself from other athletes. The obvious way to set yourself apart from the other athletes is with your swim times or dive performances. This is not the only thing that a college coach will be looking for though. Among other things they are also interested in your leadership potential, your strength of character, your work ethic, your potential for improvement, and your ability to stay eligible by being successful in the classroom. Make sure to emphasize any and all potential assets that you may offer to the team.
The first thing you need to do if you want a swimming or diving scholarship is to register and be certified by the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Center. This process is required for NCAA Division I and Division II schools. It would probably be a good idea to go through this process even if you feel you ultimately may not end up going to a Division I or II school.
Helpful Hints for Swim or Dive Recruiting Process of Juniors/Seniors
1) Create a brief bio about yourself - hobbies, likes/dislikes, community activity involvement, college degree interests, etc
**Find the schools of your interest, contact the coach through email and attach the bio’s you have created to check on their interest in you. Always reply positively to each email whether the coach shows interest or not.
**An alternate approach would be to post your information on Recruiting websites. Some websites offer their services for free and others are on a fee payment basis. Paying for the posting of your recruitement information is not necessarily any better or worse than posting it on a free website. Many of the free websites are more popular with athletes involved in smaller sports like swimming and diving. Make sure to thoroughly check out any website before posting your recruiting information on it.
NCAA Eligibility Center & HOPE Scholarship
CLEARINGHOUSE AND HOPE SCHOLARSHIP RULES
NCAA ELIGIBILITY CENTER
A central clearinghouse will certify your athletic eligibility for Division I and II. If you intend to participate in Division I or II athletics as a Freshman, you must register and be certified by the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Center. The following web links will better clarify this process and start you on your way to being certified. This process will cost you $70 and can be done with your school or on the web (credit card needed). This Eligibility Center basically is verifying that you took the required approved NCAA Core Courses while in high school. Since the NCAA is verifying your Core Courses, it is recommended that you begin this process at the beginning of your Junior year. When you take the SAT or ACT make sure to input the Eligibility Center code of 9999 so that the score is reported directly to the Eligibility Center. Beginning with the 2010-2011 year scores will not be accepted if reported on a high school transcript - they must be reported directly to the Eligibility Center.
HOPE SCHOLARSHIP (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally)
Now you know how to become eligible for college sports but you are not done. The odds of making it to the pros is pretty slim (but that doesn't mean you can't still shoot for it):
1 high school football player makes the pros for every 6,000 enrolled in high school
So just in case you are not one of those "1's" above, maybe it would be a good idea to get a good education while you're at it. Also, since there are so few swim and dive scholarships, any coach who has a tough decision to make between two borderline players will almost always pick the one who qualifies for the HOPE scholarship.
If you are taking a "college prep" curriculum in high school, you need to hold at least a 3.0 grade point average to qualify for the HOPE scholarship. If you are taking a "tech" curriculum, the GPA must be 3.2. The HOPE scholarship will pay for tuition, books and other incidentals (not room and board) to all public or private Georgia colleges. As long as you maintain the 3.0 GPA, you will continue to receive the HOPE scholarship.
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