Teams, Divisions and Competitive Quality
There are 1503 (plus minus 2-3 schools every year ) universities or colleges in the USA offer athletic or Academic scholarships to women volleyball players. Competitive quality is from high to low. Top 30-40 teams are equal to the world's best professional teams. Some American teams are similar to secondary European leagues.
There are five categories of American volleyball teams:
* NCAA Division I (National Collegiate Athletic Association)
This includes 328 universities and colleges. The top teams are equal to the best professional teams in the world, but most Division I teams are below that level.
* NCAA Division II (National Collegiate Athletic Association)
This includes 270 Universities/Colleges. The best Division II teams are better than many Division I teams. Most Division II schools have a smaller number of students than Division I schools. But important thing to know is some of these schools could be MUCH BETTER academic schools.
* NCAA Division III (National Collegiate Athletic Association)
Includes 368 Universities/Colleges. These schools also can pay your full scholarship but thru academics, what means you have to be great in school and have great test results (SAT AND OR TOEFL) There is no magical GPA or test result all schools are different so that communication need to be done with school. Many Division III schools are elite in academics, but sports are a lower priority.
* NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association)
Junior colleges are two-year schools that prepare students to advance to NCAA and NAIA universities. These colleges have less difficult entry requirements. They can be excellent starting places for student-athletes from other countries. The volleyball teams range from strong to weak. There are 320 Junior colleges in 3 Division. After completing Junior college you will need 2 more years at other school to receive Bachelor degree (University degree). Important thing to know if you are Qualifier you will be able to transfer after your first year if you wish to do so. Qualifier is person who has enough good SAT score and GPA by NAIA or NCAA rules. If your English is not good enough this is right place to start.
* NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)
These schools include a variety of volleyball teams, athletic scholarships, and academic quality. Most are small colleges and universities. Some have a religious emphasis. Many NAIA schools are very open to foreign students and have less difficult entry requirements.
There are 217 schools as of right now, this change every year.
Most important thing about Universities to understand is that ALL UNIVERSITIES ARE DIFFERENT and they have there own rules … same University/Colleges have to follow there Association rules ( NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA ) We will try just to explain how most of the schools function but please understand there are schools that function different.
* July or August: Arrive at school. Practices usually start in August but some teams are going to invite you to arrive earlier so you can Acclimatize and or work summer camps so you can make some pocket money for yourself.
* August - December: Practices and compete 3-4 tournaments in pre season, conference games and final regional/national competition if qualify.
* Middle December - middle January: Holiday! Return to your home or stay at your school or travel with your teammates to there family home.
* Middle/early January - early April: School starts with lite practices later on more practices and some friendly tournaments.
* Summer break: Every school is different and every team is different, so this is one more important thing to talk to your coach so you can plan better your summer. Some schools finish in May some in June… those same schools some starts in July and some in August.
Professional and Amateur Rules
If you signed a contract and received money from a club, a scholarship is still possible for you. However, rules about professional and amateur status are complex, many professional players with 3-4 years contract have scholarships at American universities. If you are not sure about your status, please contact us and we will clarify it for you.
Volleyball Words and Phrases in the USA
* Scholarship: Important thing to know is that SCHOLARSHIP could be covered thru athletics or Academic, players do not have to overthink about this that is more for school. Very important thing is to ask every coach what is covered with that scholarship. Some schools are covering: Medical insurance, Taxes (these are not fees), Air ticket, fees. Also to know is that some schools are not covering all these and more like books …etc. So make sure to communicate as best as you can to get clear picture on what are you going to pay on year bases.
* Coach: Combination of a trainer and manager. The head volleyball coach is the team's #1 trainer and manager.
* University or College: University and college could be same. College can be 4 years school but University can’t be 2 year school.
* Conference (League): A group of university or college teams that compete against each other.
* High School: Secondary school (final education level before university or college).
* Junior College: Two-year college that prepares students to advance to full universities and colleges.
* Student-Athlete: A student who plays on a sport team at her university or college.