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Posted on Feb 9, 2016 in News | darienfencingclub.com

Fencing and the college advantage

Fencing and the college advantage

Having fencing listed as an interest on your child’s college application could “make the difference between going to a ‘good’ college or university and a ‘great’ college or university.”[1]Fencing gives that extra advantage when applying to higher education.  Of course academia is important, but fencing gives the impression that thestudent is well-rounded on a whole additional level than most sports.

Often referred to as “physical chess,” fencing is one of the few sports that exhibits a combination of physical prowess, mental acuity, and strategic thinking – and colleges eat this up.

For example, Columbia University welcomes fencers with open arms by stating on their website that … “Good colleges are looking for good students who will contribute to their college.  Each year, some straight A students with 1600 SAT’s are rejected by colleges (don’t worry, they get in someplace) because they have little to offer; they simply regurgitate information … they have no creative spirit.  The fencer is unique.  The fencer brings experiences that enrich the college, just as an accomplished poet or violinist do.  This is the type of person the Admissions Directors like to have represented in their stacks of applicants. Being a fencer is a distinct advantage for the college applicant.”[2]

Duke University recently accepted 17 new student athletes for their fencing team.  As head coach, Alex Beguinet, states:  “This has been an especially difficult year for students seeking admission to Duke, and we are very proud to call all of these incoming fencers Blue Devils [team name].”[3] Many don’t know that fencing is an NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) sport.

Fencing has a strong presence in the NCAA — more than 30 top tier colleges in the United States have an NCAA fencing team, as well as 100 other colleges.  Schools compete against each often, so colleges need good fencers to fill their ranks.  This can give the competitive edge your child needs to gain acceptance into a top level university.

Here is a listing   of all the colleges and universities with NCAA-endorsed fencing teams. Beyond giving that critical edge for acceptance into a top tier school, many colleges offer full or partial fencing scholarships including[4]

  • University of Notre Dame who offers full scholarships to fencers with high academic scores annually.
  • Stanford has some of the best fencing teams around, and scholarships available to fencers with top grades.
  • Columbia has a special fencing scholarship award, the Herbert C. Spiselman Memorial Endowment for Fencing, which covers the cost of competitions.
  • Penn State offers a “Women’s Fencing Scholarship” endowment of $50,000 earmarked for women fencers who exhibit superior fencing talent and have strong academic marks.
  • Reed College (Portland, Oregon) hosts the Williams Scholarship Fencing Tournament each year and awards the top 3 finishers $10,000 in scholarship money to students who require financial aid.

It’s not just schools that offer fencing scholarships.  Some clubs and organizations have scholarship programs as well[5]

  • The Fencing Institute of Texas offers two $500 scholarships to undergraduate fencers who are attending or are accepted at an accredited university.
  • The NCAA offers approximately 34 Division I and II (men’s) and 43 Division I and II (women’s) fencing team scholarships.
  • The NCAA also sponsors a one-time $7,500 post-graduate scholarship for a student in his/her final season of intercollegiate fencing competition.
  • Some local clubs or teams may also have money earmarked for scholarships, so it is wise to ask around!

princeton_fencing

The fencing advantage Fencing is one of the few sports that has longevity throughout college and beyond.  32% of male fencers and 38% female fencers who competed in high school will continue to compete on a college level with a partial or full scholarship.  Compare that to football that only sees about 7.8% of its students continue with the sport in college or the 5.9% (male) and 6.3% (female) in basketball.[6]

BOYS

School Sponsored Sport High Schoolboys  College men % competing in College
Fencing 1,925 622 32.30%
Gymnastics 2,353 346 14.70%
Ice Hockey 35,732 4,181 11.70%
Lacrosse 100,641 11,748 11.70%
Baseball 474,219 53,241 11.20%
Rifle 2,561 237 9.30%
Soccer 412,351 36,741 8.90%
Golf 152,725 12,147 8.00%
Football 1,121,744 87,256 7.80%
Water Polo 20,721 1,610 7.80%
Swimming & Diving 133,823 10,304 7.70%
Cross Country 248,494 17,691 7.10%
Track & Field (excl x-country) 645,513 45,218 7.00%
Basketball 535,569 31,473 5.90%
Skiing 10,072 560 5.60%
Tennis 195,960 10,122 5.20%
Volleyball 49,467 2,004 4.10%
Wrestling 272,149 8,969 3.30%
Snowboarding 711 21 3.00%
Archery 812 22 2.70%
Bowling 28,292 595 2.10%
Cycling n/a 76 n/m
Cycling n/a 124 n/m
Equestrian 188     45 n/m
Rodeo 110 1,364 n/m
Rowing 2,464 2,994 n/m
Rugby n/a 310 n/m
Sailing n/a 547 n/m
Sprint Football n/a 385 n/m
Squash n/a 463 n/m
Badminton 4,573
  GIRLS
School Sponsored Sport

High School Girls

College Women

% competing

in College

Fencing  

1,771

674

38.10%

Ice Hockey

8,833

2,007

22.70%

Rifle

1,418

189

13.30%

Lacrosse

74,993

8,784

11.70%

Synchronized Swimming

     575

65

11.30%

Water Polo

18,749

1,829

9.80%

Soccer

371,393

35,490

9.60%

Field Hockey

60,607

5,632

9.30%

Cross Country

212,262

18,245

8.60%

Golf

71,086

6,135

8.60%

Track & Field (excl x-country)

529,200

45,529

8.60%

Gymnastics

19,119

1,561

8.20%

Swimming & Diving

160,456

13,078

8.20%

Softball

381,116

29,670

7.80%

Basketball

436,100

27,566

6.30%

Snowboarding

310

19

6.10%

Volleyball

418,903

25,165

6.00%

Skiing

9,314

509

5.50%

Tennis

218,093

10,737

4.90%

Archery

677

29

4.30%

Bowling

25,980

1,056

4.10%

Wrestling

8,235

243

3.00%

Badminton

12,150

128

1.10%

Beach / Sand Volleyball

n/a

245

n/m

Cycling

n/a

52

n/m

Equestrian

1,430

2,124

n/m

Rodeo

118

840

n/m

Rowing

6,261

7,192

n/m

Rugby

n/a

147

n/m

Sailing

n/a

644

n/m

Sand Volleyball

n/a

63

n/m

Squash

n/a

397

n/m

Bottom line:  Your child may not be thinking of fencing as they fill out their college applications, but maybe they should — especially if he or she has a passion and dedication to the sport.  Fencing can give your child that extra edge that’s needed to get into a great college. As one Yale student recalls: “The process of athletics recruitment can be daunting, and it can begin as early as sophomore year in high school: in many cases, it involves the preparation of various materials, like recruiting films (videos of you playing your sport), making “official visits,” filling out recruiting questionnaires, etc.” But, she notes, it’s all worth it, because … “Come December 15th, I was lucky enough to be celebrating three different acceptances through three separate early applications (one from my then-first choice school, and two from other early notification programs).”[7]

 



[1] Fencing for Fitness, Fun, and Medals, “Social Benefits” [website page].  Retrieved January 13, 2014 from http://www.fencingforfitness.com/social-benefits.html 1/13/14.
[2] “Fencing & College” [web post].  Retrieved May 4, 2014 fromhttp://hubcityfencing.com/general-information-about-fencing/fencing-college/.
[3] “Duke Fencing Announces 17 New Signees” [web article] 23 May 2014.  Retrieved May 27, 2014 from http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbml?PRINTABLE_PAGE=YES&SPSID=25938&DB_LANG=C&SPID=2028&DB_OEM_ID=4200&ATCLID=209501473.
[4] “Athletic Fencing Scholarship Programs:  What You Need to Know to Get Recruited,” [web article].  Retrieved January 21, 2014 fromwww.collegescholarships.org/scholarships/sports/fencing.htm.
[5] “Athletic Fencing Scholarship Programs:  What You Need to Know to Get Recruited.” Op Cit.
[6] “Chances of a High School Athlete playing College Sports,”[web article].  Retrieved January 21, 2014 fromhttp://www.scholarshipstats.com/varsityodds.html.
[7] “Emily’s Admission Story” [blog] 4 November 2011.  Retrieved May 27, 2014 from http://admissions.yale.edu/bulldogs-blogs/emily/2011/11/04/my-admissions-story.