Water Polo Scholarships
Find Your Funding for Next Year
Water polo is not available at every college or university. The best players are in high demand, and you will have to shop around carefully for scholarship money. Unless you are an All Conference or All State champion you may never find a full scholarship. In most cases coaches may divvy up a handful of scholarships into partials in order to sign a solid team comprised of depth versus star appeal. However, college coaches determine completely who gets scholarships and in what amount.
Apply Yourself Academically
Most college coaches recommend you spend as much time working at your academics as you do perfecting your water polo talents. Typically colleges and universities have much richer stores of merit-based scholarship money, which can really help if you only get a partial water polo scholarship.
NCAA Men's Water Polo
The NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association, is the governing body for collegiate water polo. There are other sports programs that are members of the NAIA, but water polo is not one of the represented programs.
The NCAA has member institutions that sponsor both Men's and Women's water polo programs at Division I and Division II levels. There are 21 D1 and 9 D2 Men's Water Polo programs. Currently programs are allowed to sponsor more scholarships for women than for men. Like Swimming and Diving, California schools tend to dominate the sport. The consistent leaders in men's water polo include:
- University of Southern California (USC) is a D1 school that consistently ranks near the top of the collegiate water polo scene. USC offers scholarships to top water polo athletes.
- Stanford University Men's Water Polo is another leading D1 scholarship program besides a fierce competitor. Players are often named to All-American teams. The Buck/Cardinal Club successfully solicits generous and enthusiastic swarms of fans and alumni who tirelessly support the celebrated athletic program, contributing millions of dollars each year so programs like water polo may continue to attract top talent from the national and international pool of student-athletes.
- University of California - San Diego (UCSD) has a D2 Men's Water Polo team that is among the top teams in the nation. Do not look to UCSD to offer big water polo scholarships, though - this program can attract top talent because of the school's rich academic scholarships, which means you must be well-studied, besides skilled in the pool.
NCAA Women's Water Polo
Like the men's teams, the finest women's water polo players are on the California teams. There are 31 D1 and 10 D2 Women's Water Polo programs in the NCAA. Top women's programs include:
- University of Southern California (USC) - like their male counterparts the Lady Trojans are consistently ranked near the top of the D1 field. This scholarship program takes the best polo players in the country.
- Stanford University Women's Water Polo is ranked just as high as the Men's program and attracts top female athletes. Stanford water polo women often make All-American and Olympic teams.
- The University of Hawaii Women's Water Polo team is a D1 program. UH does not sponsor a men's team. Rainbow Wahine women often make their way onto All-American team rosters. In order to continue running a top water polo program UH maintains an active fundraising program that solicits monies for all its athletic scholarships. Who wouldn't want to play water polo in Hawaii?