College university cheerleaders know how competitive and intensive college cheerleading is. High school cheerleading is often when the sport becomes more demanding, but by college a cheerleader must be at the top of her game and ready to take on harder stunts.
The Demanding Life of College University Cheerleaders
Life as a college cheerleader is quite demanding. Most college cheer squads practice five days a week and sometimes six. Practice sessions can last two hours or more. In addition to regular practices, most cheerleaders are expected to work out and lift weight three times a week. Since cheerleading is a challenging sport, it is vital that the guys and girls on the squad be in the best shape possible. By building muscles, college university cheerleaders can jump higher, flip faster and become more and more precise in movements.
Scholarships for Cheerleaders
Many cheerleaders today are thrilled to find out that there are more scholarships available than ever before. Although these scholarships are not always full-ride scholarships, some are. Even a partial scholarship can help offset costs of attending that out of state college you're dying to go to, or the more expensive costs of a private institution.
One of the first steps in locating scholarships is to make a list of possible schools you'd like to attend. You should then contact both the head of the sports department and the school's financial advisor to inquire about scholarships and financial aid to attend the school. You'll also want to discuss scholarships with your high school guidance counselor.
About College Cheer Squads
Many universities have two separate cheer squads. These are usually identified by a color. For example, the University of Kentucky has a gold and a blue squad. The University of Arizona has a red and a blue squad. Indiana University has a cream and a crimson squad. Typically, the two squads will represent the school's colors. Although no one states that one squad is better than the other, everyone knows that one squad is considered superior for competitions. However, if you are chosen for the squad that is not the top squad at the school, don't despair. Work hard and keep improving. When the top squad needs replacement cheerleaders, they often promote from the other squad.
Duties of a Cheerleader
In college, the demands on a cheerleader's time can be exhausting to say the least. Not only do college university cheerleaders have to attend all those practice sessions and workout sessions, but learn cheers for ball games and attend those games. The cheerleaders are needed at pep rallies too. As if all this didn't already sound like a full time job, cheerleaders are required to maintain high grade point averages to remain on the squad.
In addition to all of that, some cheerleaders belong to sororities or work part-time jobs. Organization becomes key to staying on top of all the demands and being successful as a cheerleader and a student.
College cheer coaches are often exemplary in their field. Many have won national titles and have a broad knowledge of gymnastics and cheer techniques. In addition, most universities have several coaches, all with different specialties. Because of the quality of the advanced coaching, cheerleaders are able to learn many new stunts in college that they might not have had the chance to learn at their local high school.
If you are chosen as a cheerleader for your college, know that you are among an honored few. Take advantage of this gift you've been given (and worked very hard for, of course), and take the time to listen and learn from the experienced coaches in your athletic department. Many cheerleaders find that their skills increase dramatically in college. Also, pay attention to how the coaches go about coaching. You may one day want to teach a cheerleading class to kids or even become a college cheerleading coach yourself.
Some college cheerleaders go on to dance and cheer for professional sports teams. The skills you learn in college will be essential to those try outs.
Lists of University Cheer Squads
There are more cheerleading squads than you can easily count. Some are national champs and some simply cheer their football teams on to victory. Take some time to visit the cheer pages for some of these schools. Here are some sites that offer links to various cheer squads:
- Cheerleading.net - This site has a complete list of universities offering cheer programs. You'll also find some other wonderful cheerleading information and links on this site.
- Best of the Web - This is a comprehensive directory of Division I schools that offer cheerleading.
Examples of Popular Squads
A few examples of popular squads include:
- The Idaho cheerleaders of the University of Idaho are made up of dancers, and they are considered an extra-curricular spirit squad as opposed to a sport. They represent the school and dance their way into the fans hearts; the group is co-ed. In 2008, the team experienced controversy over the female uniform at the first home football game.
- The Louisiana State University Cheerleading Squad (LSU) cheers at all the home and away football games, as well as home volleyball and gymnastics events. When basketball season commences in October, the LSU cheer team is on the sidelines at every home game for both the men's and women's teams. Each week cheerleaders can expect to attend three to four evening cheer practices as well as two early morning strength training sessions. They attend various competitions, make public appearances, and attend special events.
- The UCLA Spirit Squad is composed of four separate groups: the cheerleading squad, the dance squad, the yell crew, and the mascots. The UCLA Cheerleading squad is made up of male and female couples. The cheerleaders must be able to tumble, jump, dance, and stunt. Members must maintain good grades and are required to attend practices, personal training sessions, cheerleading boot camp, and perform at all home games and several away games. The entire squad (including the mascots and yell leaders) participate in collegiate level competitions every year. The UCLA Spirit Squad spends a fairly substantial amount of time making public appearances representing the University at charitable events and other venues.
- The University of Alabama Spirit Squads are actually two different cheerleading squads. The duties of the cheerleading squad are divided into a "Crimson" cheer squad and a "White" cheer squad. The white cheer squad cheers for volleyball, gymnastics, women's basketball and all home football games. The Crimson squad cheers for all home and away football games as well as men's basketball. In addition to the two cheerleading squads, the University of Alabama also has a competition squad and cheerleaders from both the White and the Crimson squad are chosen to participate in the competition squad.