Athletics News

Considering College Water Polo?


March 27, 2013

By Angela Kraus

Are you thinking about playing water polo in college? Navigating the maze of college entrance requirements can be daunting all by itself--but adding the athletic-recruiting process can make it appear overwhelming.

It doesn't have to be that way.

USA Water Polo, in its continuing commitment to provide valuable services to its members, is pleased to launch Shooting for College, a new column offering advice from an experienced advisor to demystify the process for students and their families and hopefully relieve the stress and uncertainty that accompanies this exciting time in student-athletes' lives.

In this and future issues, Shooting for College will cover a variety of topics and offer guidance to help student-athletes find and qualify for collegiate water polo programs compatible with their academic and athletic skills. Articles will focus on the academic preparation required for college, including course selection, satisfying NCAA eligibility requirements, test preparation, recruiting tips (including how players can maximize their visibility and how to approach and interact with college coaches in accordance with NCAA rules), conduct interviews with college coaches, answer reader questions, and more. We hope this column will become a valuable resource for you throughout your college-preparation and athletic-recruiting process. Feel free to write if you have any questions.

FINDING COLLEGE WATER POLO PROGRAMS

Did you know that you can play water polo at lots of schools--not just the ones you always hear about (e.g., Stanford, Cal, UCLA, and USC)? Did you know that you don't have to be an all-CIF championship player or even a varsity starter to participate in college sports? If playing intercollegiate sports isn't your goal, have you considered playing club or intramural sports?

Begin your collegiate water polo career at the National Collegiate Athletic Association web site (www.ncaa.org). All intercollegiate college sports are governed by the NCAA. Take a look at the section Student-Athlete Experience to get an overview of the eligibility requirements and the process. Check out the list of all the collegiate men's and women's water polo programs available  throughout the United States--just enter http://web1.ncaa.org/ECWR2/NCAA_EMS/NCAA_EMS.html# in the search box of your computer's Internet browser. Click on "Sports" in the toolbar. When the virtual notebook containing a list of NCAA Sports appears, "turn" the pages to Fall Sports for men's water polo and Spring Sports for women's water polo. Click on your choice, select Division I, II, or III, and a list of programs will pop up. You'll be amazed that there are currently 42 collegiate men's water polo programs (22 in Division I, 6 in Division II, and 14 in Division III) and 60 collegiate women's water polo programs (34 in Division I, 7 in Division II, and 19 in Division III). You can click on any school listed and be linked directly to the school's web site for more information about the school and specific programs.

ACADEMIC ELIGIBILITY

 After you finish reading about the men's or women's water polo program on the school's athletic web site, you can read the school's academic profile on its home page to learn about the school--take a virtual tour, look at the admissions pages, check the list of majors offered--to make sure the college offers the academic programs you're considering. Be sure to check the most recently available freshman academic profile to see where you might slot into the academic community based on your grades and standardized test scores. Consider making unofficial visits to schools that interest you. Many schools, particularly highly selective schools, require athletes to meet their minimum thresholds for admission; those thresholds are usually much higher than the minimums required for NCAA eligibility, and such schools do not "dip" for athletes. The NCAA web site advises that "any college-bound student athlete should prepare for the academic side of college as though the athletics experience did not exist." The message here is to build a solid high school academic record by taking the most challenging courses you can manage, studying hard, preparing for standardized tests, and generally doing your best in the classroom. Remember, athletics can help open doors, but it doesn't replace classroom success.

Questions? Write to Angela Kraus at angela@shootingforcollege.info or visit her web site at www.shootingforcollege.info. Angela Kraus is an experienced and certified college counselor providing comprehensive services to help students prepare and ensure eligibility for high school graduation and admission to colleges. A special focus of her practice is advising high school athletes as they pursue the athletic recruiting process, with emphasis on water polo players.

This article was originally printed in the Summer 2012 issue of SkipShot Magazine.

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