Will Swimming Pay For College?

by SwimSwam 23

March 19th, 2018 College, Lifestyle

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

When my kids were little and new to our swim team, we never thought about college scholarships. After all, we didnt know if our kids would stick through one season of swimming, let alone 10 plus years of it. I remember parents of older kids who were very focused on scholarships and believed that swimming was their ticket for a paid for college education. I can report that these parents did send their kids to college with big scholarships and it worked out well for them.

However, from reading various articles and looking at statistics, the numbers are not in favor of getting college paid for by swimming or diving. Its around 2 percent of all high school athletes who go on to play their sport at an NCAA D1 college and 7 percent for student-athletes across all divisions. And thats not even talking about scholarships. Theres a website that a swim coach sent to me with lots of numbers and statistics that spell it all out called Scholarship Stats.You can check out the 664 colleges that offered swimming and diving programs in 2017 at “College Swimming and Scholarship Opportunities.” Its a helpful page to check out swim and dive programs complete with average scholarships awarded and SAT and ACT scores.

Here are a few tips about the statistics of swimming in college:

ONE

Our kids need to be passionate about their activities and spend all the necessary hours and sacrifices because they want to. Not because of a dream we have for them to earn a scholarship.

TWO

In an NCAA Division I, fully-funded swimming and dive program, Men are limited to 9.9 scholarships awarded per team, while Women have 14, with most programs having around 28 swimmers on either team. Because swimming is an equivalency sport, schools can offer partial scholarships that when added up dont exceed the number of scholarships allowed. Most likely, if your child earns a scholarship for swimming it will be partialnot a full ride.

THREE

From the website Scholarship Stats, for Women, there were a total of 170,797 varsity high school swimmers in 2017. From those, 12,961 or 7.6 percent went on to swim in college. For Men, the numbers were 138,364 varsity high school swimmers with 10,345 or 7.5 percent swimming in college. These statistics dont take into account club swimmers who dont swim in high school.

FOUR

Earning a scholarship is wonderful. If your child is fortunate enough to get one, you have every right to be proud and happy. Also, dont forget about all the other great things they gained from swimming such as physical fitness, time management, good sportsmanship, friendships for life and skills desired by future employers. Enjoy each moment of the age group swimming years and the college ones to come.

What are your thoughts about pressure on swimmers to get athletic scholarships for college?

Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.

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newswim

Point of clarification regarding numbers cited above. 40 percent of the men and 37 percent of the women swimming in college compete for Div 3 teams that do not offer scholarships. Also a number of the Div 1 programs have no scholarships (Ivy League among others) or are not fully funded. This is to emphasize your point that aiming for swimming scholarship is a long-shot and this is no way to plan financially for college. The good news is that for good students who are also talented athletes, swimming can be the deciding factor in getting into a great school. Many of these very selective schools also offer generous aid packages with a large percentage of the aid in the… Read more »

Coach John

source?

OfficialDad

Let’s be really honest. If every parent took the money we spend on practices, tech suits, team travels, family travels, not to mention special diets, much larger appetites, etc… and put that money into a 529 for our kids, few swim team families would not have enough money to pay for an excellent state school education. We don’t support our children’s drive to be their best in order to pay for college. If my children are so lucky, it will be a blessing and a treat, but that isn’t why I love watching them practice and race and smile and cry. I love it because I know everything else that they are learning and benefiting from. I know that their… Read more »

College Coach

This is spot on! Thank you for sharing this perspective. Money for college is an extrinsic motivator that is far less likely to pay off than all of the positives mentioned in the previous comment and through your focus on supporting your kids because you love them and want to be part of this experience.

Swim Mom

We tried to think of any scholarship money my child received as a bonus, but not an expectation, goal or reason to swim. Sure, it would have been nice and helpful, but it also would have changed the mix of schools on the list of possibilities quite drastically. If your swimmer wants to be the small fish in the big pond, there is likely no scholarship money for that scenario. There are also many schools with no scholarship money available. Additionally, I think focusing on a scholarship might also add some pressure to an already stressful mix of swimming and scholastic expectations. My advice to parents would be to let your swimmer focus on the fun of swimming and getting… Read more »

JerseyDIII from Jersey

Short answer: Nope!

Stooooppppp

Long answer; if you’re good enough

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