Water Polo Scholarships

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At some colleges and universities, water polo is only a club sport; at others it is a competitive, division one sport. In either case, it takes strength and endurance to be one of the best. To be offered a scholarship to play at the collegiate level, you must be one of the best in the nation. Full scholarships are hard to come by, and most who get these scholarships are All Conference and All State champions.

Most of the time in this area, the coach is the one who decides who gets which scholarships are awarded. Some focus on giving partial scholarships to create a well-rounded team, others focus on giving full scholarships to a few players in order to get the best recruits.

Apply Yourself Academically

Because most universities only award partial scholarships for water polo athletes, they encourage students to maintain excellent grades so that they can receive additional academic scholarships. Because colleges seek these determined individuals, many water polo teams have the highest GPA’s out of all other sports teams.

NCAA Men’s Water Polowater polo scholarships

The NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association, is the governing body for all collegiate sports, including 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 hundreds of member institutions that offer both Men’s and Women’s water polo programs at the Division I and smaller Division II levels. There are 21 Division I and 9 Division II water polo teams. Most of the schools that participate in DI water polo are located in California. Not surprisingly, these schools dominate the sport. Here are the colleges that are consistently the best in water polo:

  • University of Southern California (USC) is a five-peat champion in water polo with over 14 conference championships. They recruit the best and most dedicated players from all over the country. Because they are a proven water polo school, they dedicate funds to providing their players with generous scholarships.
  • The Men’s Water Polo team at Stanford University is another great competitor in the sport. They are one of the leading scholarship providers both academically and athletically. Their Buck/ Cardinal Club is supported by a vast amount of alumni who provide generous scholarships to athletes attending Stanford. By providing millions of dollars in support, they are able to recruit the best players for water polo and other sports both nationally and internationally.
  • University of California- San Diego is one of the top water polo teams in the D2 level. Unlike USC and Stanford, they don’t offer many athletic scholarships for their athletes. To counter this, they offer unrivaled academic scholarships to attract both talented and intelligent players. As it turns out, the most intelligent players usually are able to learn how to develop their skills and end up becoming some of the best water polo players. In fact, because UCSD encourages academic excellences, their players usually have an easy time finding careers outside of college.

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. Some of the top women’s programs include:

  • University of Southern California (USC) – Just like the men’s team, the women’s D1 water polo is one of the premier programs in the nations. They also offer one of the best scholarship opportunities in the nation.
  • Stanford University The women’s water polo is consistently one of the top three best programs in the country. There are even more scholarship opportunities for women in this sport than their male counterparts. Many of the women playing here are recruited to represent the United States in the Olympics.
  • The University of Hawaii doesn’t have a men’s water polo team. Their women’s team however is top-notch. In order to recruit the best players, they offer competitive scholarships for their lady water-polo players. Even if scholarships aren’t enough to attract players, the sheer fact that students will get the opportunity to play in Hawaii is enough to attract some of the best talent. Who wouldn’t want to play water polo in Hawaii?


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