Junior Tennis News
The Official Tennis Newswire

Scholarship vs. non-scholarship schools
Scholarship vs. Non-Scholarship Schools

By Alex Dorato
Yale University
Cary Leeds Coach of Menís Tennis

As the coach at an Ivy League school, where athletic scholarships are not offered, I am often asked why a top junior tennis player would turn down a scholarship in order to attend an Ivy League institution (all Ivy League financial aid is need-based). There are two strong reasons. First, in life after tennis, having an Ivy League degree opens the door to many more opportunities. Secondly, an Ivy League education best prepares a student to succeed in those opportunities. The career advantages of attending an Ivy League school are in addition to being provided with the same level athletic benefits that scholarship schools offer.

There are many examples of top junior players who chose to forgo a scholarship opportunity in order to attend an Ivy League institution. Just to name a few recent examples; James Blake (Harvard) was ranked #1 in the U.S. in the 18 & Under, Jason Pinsky (Penn) was ranked #1 in the 18ís, and Brandon Wai (Yale) was ranked #3 in the U.S. in the 16ís.

The above mentioned outstanding junior players and many more like them made an investment in their future by choosing to attend an Ivy League school. Will this investment be worth sacrificing a scholarship? Absolutely! After tennis, whether they go on to graduate school or enter the workforce, the statistics are overwhelming that their Ivy league degree will provide the best job opportunities and/or the best opportunities to attend the highest rated graduate schools. Through the course of their careers, the cost of attending an Ivy League institution will pay for itself many times over.

Playing on the professional tour is extremely difficult, and only a select few will make a living at it. So why wouldnít a player insure their future through securing the best possible educational opportunity while still pursuing their dream of a professional tennis career? There is a common misconception that to make it on the tour requires sacrificing oneís education. Home schooling and skipping college to turn pro are becoming more common. However, there is no evidence to support the claim that this is the best route to a professional career, and there is solid evidence to refute it. The Ivy League has turned out many successful tennis professionals. James Blake is the best example that an Ivy League education doesnít require sacrificing oneís professional aspirations.

By attending an Ivy League school a player will benefit from the highest level training and competition, while at the same time receiving a first-rate education. An investment in an Ivy League education will more than off-set forgoing an athletic scholarship through greater job and educational opportunities in life after tennis.