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Fencing In College

Updated on February 20, 2009

Collegiate Fencing

Fencing in College

Fencing Championship

Fencing Epee

Fencing Club

Fencing In College

Here’s good news if you’re a fencer wishing to continue fencing in college. There are 174 colleges and universities which have at least one fencing club, so you have good chances of being able to finish college while indulging in your favorite sport. You may find a list of these colleges and universities at www.usfencing.org.

Choice of School

It’s always good to plan ahead, so even while in high school, you should already have a clear idea of where you’d like to be. Schools have different financial aid packages, academic standards, facilities, not to mention cultures – each of these you’d like to consider. This’ll enable you to avail of early decision or early action plans many colleges and universities offer. College admissions is rising, with experts predicting admissions outpacing openings at most colleges till 2010, causing schools to be more selective. You wouldn’t want your college fencing objective jeopardized simply because you had your choices limited simply because you failed to plan ahead.

There are other questions you’d like to answer with regard to which school to choose. Can you join the fencing team right away? What about your gear, do you have to provide them, or will the school provide them? If so, for what kind of fees? What kind of fencing facilities does the school fencing club has? Does it offer instruction on your weapon? Who’s the instructor? What’s his background? Does he interact well with his students? Does he have a sense of humor? How many students are there usually? Strips? Weapons? Jackets? Masks? Are the equipment well-maintained? What about the students? What’s their skill level? Attitude? Aggressiveness? Courtesy level? How about morale? Trophies?

What about expenses? What kind of expenses will my joining involve? And the tournaments: who pays for going there and getting back? Grades being important, what kind of tutoring privileges do Varsity Athletes have? What if practice conflicts with classes?

It’d be a good idea to actually go and visit the club, hang around, speak with the master and students. Another important question you’d like to answer: what’s the school policy on the carrying of fencing gear inside the campus? Do they allow it? Don’t they classify it as “deadly weapon,” in which case you might find yourself in the terribly embarrassing situation of planning for everything, only to find out that the school manual wouldn’t allow “bladed weapons” inside the campus.

NCAA

If you’re good, and you probably are, otherwise you’ll not be reading this, you’d probably want to play in competitions. If so, there are a few things you need to know. The most important is that there is this collegiate athletic organization called the “N-C-Double A,” the National Collegiate Athletic Association which oversees all collegiate athletic programs in the United States. They happen to have some very strict rules on recruitment by colleges and universities of athletes, or the approaching by the prospective freshman or his parents of school authorities for anything that relates to the sport of the prospective enrollee. If you’re planning on a scholarship know that only Division I schools are allowed to offer scholarships, Division II and III are not. If you’re planning on a scholarship on an Ivy League school, know that all except Dartmouth offer fencing scholarships. For a list of colleges and universities offering scholarships you may visit the same NCAA Web site.

Recruited Prospective Student-Athlete

That’s what you’d want to be, a “recruited prospective student-athlete.” But to be one, you’d have to be approached by a school representative about participating in his school’s athletic program. If you’re hot, they will come to you. But even here the NCAA has a say, specifying the manner of the contact, right down to when and how.

During what’s called a “contact period,” school reps may contact you in-person on- and off-campus. They can also write, or phone you during this period. During the “evaluation period,” they can only look at our academic qualifications and playing quality, no in-person, off-campus contacts, although they may write or phone you. During a “quiet period,” they’re allowed only in-person on-campus contacts; off-campus, they’re allowed only phone calls and letters. During a dead period, school reps may not make in-person contacts or evaluation on- or off-campus; neither may they allow official or non-official visits. However, phone calls and letters are permitted.

National Letter of Intent

If you’ve been approached, you’d get to a point where you’ll be presented the National Letter of Intent for you to sign. Unless you’ve made up your mind about attending that particular school, don’t sign it. Signing will bind you to that school, and you will penalized if you have to switch schools, so be sure of your decision. But once you’ve decided, and have signed the NLI, you’re in, with a financial aid package to boot.


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