50 Best Cheerleading Colleges In 2023 | All You Need To Know

Do you want to know about cheerleading colleges, teams, scholarships, clinics, coaches and what it takes to become a college cheerleader?

Are you looking for the best cheerleading colleges to apply to but you do not know where to start from?

Do you want to know the cheer skills that give you an edge over other college cheerleader applicants?

This article covers all you need to know about college cheerleading in one comprehensive piece. 

  • Discover the characteristics of the ideal cheerleader in this guide.
  • The institutions that offer cheerleading as well as recruiting rules for cheerleading, or what coaches look for in players before they are recruited and other important details.

50 Best Cheerleading Colleges In 2023

Cheerleading is an activity in which participants who are called cheerleaders cheer for their team as a form of encouragement.

It’s a sport that attracts a lot of college students who don’t like volleyball, football, or other sports.

If you’ve ever seen those lovely ladies and gentlemen with sashes in their hands jumping, pulling tricks, and making some cute motions before a game, then, you’ve most likely seen a college cheerleader.

Although cheerleading is not a sanctioned sport at the NCAA Divisions 1, 2, and 3, as well as NAIA and junior colleges, it is a popular sport with numerous fans.

College Cheerleading Requirements And Guidelines

If you are considering applying to cheerleading colleges, the first thing you should consider is what coaches look for in athletes before they are recruited to be a part of their cheerleading team bearing in mind that this isn’t a sanctioned sport.

As a result, college coaches and student-athletes start recruiting at any point during their high school careers.

Required Cheerleading Preparation

Preparing for cheerleading is largely determined by the requirements of each individual program. 

Cheerleading tryouts typically includes:

  • Sideline Cheers
  • Battle song
  • Tumbling (running and standing) 
  • Stunts and jumps

While on this, it is important that you know that cheerleading coaches frequently use recruitment videos and in-person auditions to evaluate a cheerleading recruit’s overall ability, ranging from leaps to stunts to tumbling.

Though it differs in different schools with its own set of requirements.

Many coaches are looking for a set of standards for each position, such as flyers, tumblers, stunters, and dancers.

The number of cheer stunts required is entirely dependent on the program. 

Non-competitive teams will evaluate basic cheer skills, while top programs from across the country will evaluate advanced skills.

New recruits should learn the fundamentals of cheerleading.

Let’s look into all the necessary cheerleading tryouts such as:

  • Tumbling

Tumbling has to do with running and standing. 

Coaches look for applicants who can do both running and standing tumbling.

For example, professional teams may require you to perform a standing back tuck or a full twisting layout while standing.

Top programs may include specialty passes such as an Arabian and whips in their testing of your tumbling abilities.

  • Jumps

Coaches assess jump height, flexibility, and landing with feet together in complex jump combinations.

Some teams may request a toe touch, tuck, Pike, right or left hurdler, and herkie, for example.

  • Stunts

It is essential to be able to stunt with multiple partners, and most college cheerleaders should be able to complete a two-part stunt combo. 

Coaches also take into account tosses, which are typically game-day stunts, and pyramids.

Cheer stunts include extensions, liberties, walk-in stunts, and toss stunts. 

Highly competitive teams may be required to perform full-up stunts, rewinds, and handspring-up stunts.

  • Dance

In addition to traditional abilities, some schools seek dancers who can perform a tumbling pass.

Quadruple pirouettes, aerial (ideally both sides), advanced turns, and advanced jumps are all common skills required at a top institution.

How To Become A College Cheerleader And Get Recruited For Cheering

Cheerleading’s recruiting process differs from that of other sports because it is not an NCAA-sanctioned sport, which means that there are no clear rules regarding coach contact or recruitment calendars.

As a result, coaches and recruits can communicate at any time and express interest.

While most cheerleading coaches focus on juniors and seniors.

There are steps that student-athletes can take while still in high school to become college cheerleaders.

It is important that an athlete must maintain a proactive attitude rather than waiting for coaches to find them.

Below are the necessary steps to become a cheerleader:

1. Make A List Of Cheerleading Colleges To Target:

Make a priority list and ask important questions that will shape your college experience. 

Do you want to compete, and if so, 

Ask questions like;

  • Which organization do you prefer, UCA or NCA? 
  • What level of rigor do you want in your training? 

Consider the curriculum, size, location, game-day atmosphere, campus life, and cost of the school.

After you’ve narrowed down your athletic, academic, and personal interests, you can start compiling a realistic list of target colleges.

But, before you add them to the list, make sure your skills match the coach’s specifications. 

To learn more, visit your preferred team’s website, peruse the daily roaster and watch movies of the routines.

2. Coaches At Colleges Can Be Contacted:

Cheerleading is not an NCAA-sanctioned sport, so there are no formal recruiting guidelines or timelines.

Coaches and student-athletes can communicate at any time, and athletes can even come to the school to meet with the coach in person.

Send a coach an email as soon as possible explaining your skills, grades, and interest in the program if you want to get on their radar.

If you have one, you should also send it to them. 

Coaches will advise you on whether you should continue trying out for their team.

3. Participate In College Cheerleading Clinics:

Athletes interested in trying out for a college cheer squad should attend a college cheer clinic.

Some clinics start in the fall, but the majority start in the spring, just before the tryout.

During this time, recruits learn the material they will perform and be graded on during the tryout.

4. Excel Academically:

Every college coach is on the lookout for student-athletes who will make a smooth transition to college.

Recruits who have good marks and a strong academic records demonstrate to coaches that they can manage their time and be accountable.

5. Get A Feel For The Tryout Format By Doing The Following:

Various tryout formats exist for college cheerleading programs. 

To begin, go to the school’s website, as most of them provide an explanation of their process as well as a list of required requirements.

As a condition of your tryout, certain schools may need you to submit a video showcasing specific talents. 

Make sure you practice these skills in advance so you’ll be ready when the time arrives.

What Are The Top Cheerleading Competitions And Medals?

There are numerous cheerleading competitions at the local, regional, and national levels. 

Teams can improve their skills by attending organized cheerleading camps and practices. 

The winning squad would be awarded one-of-a-kind cheerleading medals. 

A cheerleading medal would give you an excellent opportunity to join the college cheerleading team.

Cheerleading squads can be found in the majority of high schools and colleges.

Apart from normal benefits, there is a provision for cheerleading scholarships that are also available for students. 

The primary goal of a high school cheerleading squad is to encourage audience participation and applause during sporting events. It is gradually becoming an all-year activity.

Cheerleading Colleges In The United States?

Cheerleading programs are offered at the NCAA Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3 levels, with over 250 universities offering them. 

NAIA and junior institutions provide competitive programs as well.

Even within the same division level, there are numerous types of experiences accessible in cheer colleges.

The majority of colleges have coed programs, while some have all-girl programs, and still, some have both.

Some programs also have a team-level system in place, comparable to JV and Varsity, in which only the best players participate.

However, the most significant distinction between programs is whether they are competitive or not. 

For example, NCAA Division 1

You can have two squads that provide completely different college cheer experiences. One could be a well-known established contender, such as the University of Kentucky, and the other, like the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

They don’t compete in competitions; they only cheer during games.

If student-athlete wants to compete in college, they must restrict their choices even more by determining whether they want to attend a school that is a member of the National Cheerleaders Association or the Universal Cheerleaders Association.

The NCA is more All-Star cheer, with a concentration on dancing, stunting, and tumbling.

Cheerleaders who have competed in All-Star cheer have a higher chance of succeeding at schools that compete in the NCA.

UCA is more comparable to traditional cheerleading, with acrobatics and cheering a big part of the performance.

As previously stated, Cheer colleges can be extremely diverse. 

That’s why it’s essential for student-athletes to narrow down the type of college they want to attend and do extensive study on the programs they want to pursue.

Let’s look into the best 50 colleges for cheerleading in their respective divisions.

List Of Division 1 Cheerleading Colleges

Cheerleading is offered at about 150 Division 1 colleges, with most of them competing in the Universal Cheerleader Association or the National Cheerleaders Association.

There are two different types of program non-competitive teams then cheer at football and basketball games. 

Both types of programs include scheduled practices, but competitive teams demand greater training and time commitment.

Division 1 is divided into two subcategories: 

  • Division 1A and Division 1. 

Division 1A are colleges that are bigger than Division 1 Colleges

Nevertheless, Division 1 squads, on average, are more difficult to join than the other cheer college divisions, however, this varies greatly depending on the program.

Some of the best junior colleges and NAIA teams have a skill that is comparable to that of the NCAA.

Division 1 cheerleading colleges have more financing than other colleges, so you may have a better chance of receiving a cheerleading scholarship

Some of the well-known Division 1 cheerleading colleges include:

  • University of Kentucky
  • The University of Alabama
  • University of Central Florida
  • Texas Tech University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Louisville
  • The University of Mississippi
  • University of Tennessee
  • Mississippi State University
  • Ohio State University

List Of Division 2 Cheerleading Colleges

There are 48 cheerleading colleges under this division.

NCAA Division 2 offers fewer chances than Division 1, but student-athletes can still explore these programs.

While there are a few Division 2 programs that are not competitive, the majority of the colleges compete in the NCA or UCA. 

These colleges are often smaller than Division 1 schools and provide a better balance between school and practice.

Many student-athletes are drawn to this level because it allows them to compete while also focusing on their studies, interning, or working part-time.

All-girls and co-ed teams are available in these programs, and a selected few provide both. 

Here are some of the top Division 2 cheerleading schools:

  • California Baptist University
  • University of West Georgia
  • Drury University
  • Oklahoma Baptist University
  • Blinn College
  • University of Central Oklahoma
  • Wilmington University
  • The College of New Jersey
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Mckendree University

List Of Division 3 Cheerleading Colleges

Division 3 cheerleading is offered by 28 colleges. 

These colleges, like earlier levels, provide all-girls, coed, or both teams.

Only a few Division 3 cheering universities compete in either UCA or NCA contests; only a few are non-competitive.

The majority of these schools under this division are small and private. 

Many cheerleading recruits are drawn to Division 3 because it allows them to concentrate on schoolwork or internships while still competing in college cheerleading.

Student-athletes with a high GPA and good test scores frequently do well at this level because they have a better chance of acquiring financial aid, particularly at private universities.

Division 3 is proof that there is no correlation between a team’s ability and its division in college cheerleading. 

The top Division 3 programs have higher scores than certain Division 1 teams at the NCA and UCA National Championships.

Here are some of the top Division 3 cheerleading schools:

  • Davenport University
  • Bridgewater State University
  • Elmira College
  • Montclair State University
  • SUNY Cortland
  • Fitchburg State University
  • Stevenson University
  • Brenau University
  • Frostburg State University
  • Endicott College

List Of Top NAIA Cheerleading Colleges

All NAIA cheerleading colleges are governed by the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics.

The NAIA cheer and dance competition has 50 schools, the majority of which are located in the Midwest and southern states.

NAIA colleges appeal to many student-athletes because of their smaller class sizes and overall flexibility in terms of athletics, academics, and social life.

The NAIA organizes its own cheerleading competitions, with the top 12 teams qualifying for the NAIA Championships. 

The top NAIA cheerleading squads are:

  • Missouri Valley College
  • Oklahoma City University
  • University of Saint Francis
  • Concordia University
  • St. Ambrose University
  • Midland University
  • Lourdes University
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Martin Methodist College
  • Missouri Baptist University

List Of Best Junior College Cheerleading

Only nine junior colleges offer cheerleading, but the greatest programs, such as Navarro College and Trinity Valley Community College in Texas, are among the best in the country.

The junior college division is divided into two categories: advanced and intermediate, with the majority of programs competing in the intermediate category.

This distinction was made because junior college cheerleading talent varies greatly. 

Junior college provides student-athletes with an excellent opportunity to improve their academic achievement before transferring to a four-year institution.

The following is a list of junior colleges that have cheerleading programs:

  • Navarro College
  • Trinity Valley Community College
  • Shelton State Community College
  • Tyler Junior College
  • Wallace State College
  • Barton Community College
  • Butler Community College
  • Itawamba Community College

List Of Best Cheerleading Colleges

When it comes to college cheerleading, there is no clear-cut “best of the best.” 

Similarly, a certain division does not produce more competitive programs.

When it comes to overall scores, the finest Division 3 cheerleading teams compete with Division 1 programs. In reality, junior colleges have two of the best programs in the country.

As a result, a student-“best” athlete’s college is entirely dependent on the type of program and experience they desire.

Families must determine if they want a competitive or non-competitive program, whether they want a team that participates in UCA or NCA, and what type of squad they want—all girls, coed, small, etc.

Even once a recruit narrows down their athletic requirements, other crucial factors of a college, including academics, school size, location, and campus culture, must be taken into account.

To assist you with getting started, we’ve prepared a list of well-known cheering programs from across the country:

  • University of Kentucky
  • The University of Alabama
  • University of Central Florida
  • Texas Tech University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Louisville
  • The University of Mississippi
  • University of Tennessee
  • Mississippi State University
  • Ohio State University

1. University Of Kentucky

One of the most successful student programs in the world is the University of Kentucky cheerleading squad.

Kentucky has dominated the World Fans’ Championships like no other college cheerleading team.

On Sunday in Orlando, Florida, fans of the University of Kentucky cheerleaders earned their 22nd national championship at the Universal Cheerleaders Association.

Cheerleaders frequently attend Athletics Association and Alumni Association events at the University. They also represent the university at a variety of community and charitable activities.

2. University of Minnesota:

The Spirit Squad coaching staff’s objective is to support the University of Minnesota’s student-athletes and help them develop academic and athletic talents.

They will provide genuine care and advice to their teams as a result of their various qualities and features. Their ultimate purpose is to develop intelligent, sincere, and unselfish Minnesota ambassadors.

The University of Minnesota is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Golden Gophers Spirit Squads is a cheerleading squad on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.

The University of Minnesota is known as the “birthplace of cheerleading” since it was the first program of its kind in the world.

3. Concordia University:

Concordia University cheerleaders are regarded as one of the greatest cheerleading universities because they offer a variety of sports scholarships based on students’ qualifications, abilities, and experience, among other factors.

These sports scholarships are extended each year if the student-athlete continues to be relevant. In addition to their athletic scholarships, student-athletes can seek academic awards.

The former is normally determined and awarded during the admissions process, and it is usually merit-based.

There are also a number of need-based grants available to fans. Each student-athlete must be a member of one of the university’s competitive teams, which include females and NAIA students.

For the purpose of placement, a pre-competition evaluation will be done. Movement between teams may be required at the discretion of the head coach.

4. University Of Alabama:

Each year, the University of Alabama’s cheerleading squads are among the finest in the country.

They have two cheerleading squads: an all-girls squad and a coed squad. Women’s basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and home football games are all supported by the All-Girl team.

All home and away football games, as well as men’s basketball, are supported by the Coed team.

In January, both teams compete in the UCA national competition. Fans are supposed to schedule their classes around the coaches’ schedules. Fans are needed to attend weekly workouts in addition to practice.

5. University Of Hawaii:

The University of Hawaii is genuinely concerned about its supporters! Members of the school’s support staff are eligible for 12 to 14 full-time scholarships.

Both in-state and qualifying out-of-state fans are eligible for these scholarships, which pay the entire cost of training.

Furthermore, the university grants a second scholarship to its international supporters! Fans from outside the state who fit the criteria will just have to pay half the cost of training, which is a huge relief.

If they meet the qualifications, fans can apply for a variety of WUE scholarships and tuition costs. The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a scholarship agreement that allows students at more than 160 public colleges and universities to save money on tuition.

6. University Of Central Florida:

The UCF cheerleading team normally consists of 16 men and 16 women, according to the University of Central Florida’s team organization. UCF is largely regarded as one of the best cheerleading programs in the country.

The squad represents the University of Central Florida at all home and away football games, men’s and women’s basketball games, and all home volleyball games, as well as making several community engagements each year.

All away football games, as well as post-season conference finals and tournaments, are attended by the UCF Cheerleading team.

Each year, the 16 finest new prospects and returning team members are awarded scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 per year.

Because the squad is sponsored by Nike, all training gear, uniforms, shoes, warm-ups, bags, and other items are provided free of charge to students.

7. Delaware State University:

In February 2020, the University of Delaware cheerleading team earned its second straight national championship in the Universal Support Association’s Open Division I.

The fan squad has come a long way to achieve success! You will also have access to support scholarships if you wish to be a member of the team. If you live in Delaware, you may be eligible for up to $7,500.

The Department of Interuniversity Athletics manages and awards these scholarships based on each student-academic athlete and athletic achievements.

The NCAA rules and regulations for sports scholarships and awards are followed by the department. Cheerleaders will be paid in various amounts.

8. University Of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi is looking for devoted candidates who can favorably represent Ole Miss on game days, in the community, and on social media.

High performance on game day, ability to handle the audience, attitude/work ethic, professionalism/speaking abilities, physical training, academic performance, inhibition, and appearance will all be considered.

Before taking the mock tests, all candidates must be accepted, currently enrolled, or have applied to the University of Mississippi.

9. Oklahoma Panhandle State University:

Athletes at the University of Oklahoma Panhandle (OPSU), known as Aggie, are encouraged by his strong and sophisticated followers, with the exception of football and rodeo teams.

The university also provides considerable cheerleading scholarships to both in-state and out-of-state student-athletes. A qualified student may be eligible for up to $10,500 in financial aid

For state students, a minimum of three years of residency in Oklahoma is required, as well as a 2.5 GPA.

Scholarship-minded fans, like their NCAA-recognized university sports counterparts, are required to satisfy high academic and athletic criteria.

10. The University Of Southern California

USC Cheer is a sport that combines cheerleading with competition. Their primary objective is to represent the University of Southern California at national tournaments.

They are dedicated to maintaining a strong work ethic, a sense of devotion, and tradition at their university in a fun and motivating environment as a team representing USC.

Cheerleading experience is required. For the academic year(s) you wish to be on the team, you must be enrolled as a full-time student. Every member is expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5.


The cheering recruiting process isn’t as easy as it seems. It will come with its toughness most especially when you are trying to get the attention of the coaches.

Nevertheless, with the right guidance which this article has provided. You will be able to know how to go about every storm on the way.

Never give up!…. You are a born cheer.

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