Do you want to play volleyball in college? In this episode of the dig, we discuss the various levels you can play at. This won't pick your college for you, but it will give you a good idea of which level you'd fit into.
Division 1 volleyballis highly competitive. Athletes are expected to place a large amount of emphasis on their sport with workouts throughout the entire year. Full ride scholarships are available.
Division 2 volleyballputs a much larger emphasis on being a student-athlete. This is still a highly competitive division and you'll be expected to be very focused on your sport. Division 2 athletes, in any sport, are usually not looking to play at a professional level, and getting a good education is a major factor in choosing their school. Athletic scholarships can be handed out, and even split between athletes.
Division 3 volleyballputs the emphasis on the classroom before the sport. There are still good volleyball programs at this level, but students often choose division 3 colleges for the degree they are seeking, and competitive volleyball is an added bonus. No scholarships can be awarded for athletics, but scholarships for academics are available. Full and partial scholarships are available.
NJCAA - National Junior College Athletic Association
Junior college volleyballoffers an alternative method for playing competitive volleyball in college. These are two year programs and many athletes feed into NCAA colleges after their 2 year junior college commitment is up. This is a good path to take to gain more exposure and give yourself more time to develop, and then transfer into a D1 or D2 program. Scholarships are available in full or particle increments. Junior colleges place a large emphasis on the student and academic life although there are still very competitive schools at the junior college level.
Community CollegeIf you're not interested in playing volleyball as a primary means to pay for your college, why not look at a local community college? If you don't get a scholarship, college is expensive. Local community colleges will offer you in-state tuition which is significantly cheaper than out of state tuition. If they have a volleyball program, they are likely looking for athletes who are already planning to attend their college.
College Club VolleyballMany colleges offer a club volleyball program where students who already attend the college can form a team and go play opposing schools. This is a student run organization and you'll be expected to plan your own practices and schedules. It is a good way to stay competitive in your sport, while not putting a lot of emphasis on it.
Intramural volleyball is a league hosted by the school where students can form their own teams and compete against other teams within the school. Playing intramural sports requires the least amount of commitment on your behalf. You can choose to only show up on game days, or you can add a practice in once or twice a week. Some schools boast fantastic intramural sports programs, while others have a lack of interest. Look into intramural sports if you want to continue to play volleyball, but on your own terms.