University of Richmond '08 - Women's Lacrosse
My experience with the recruiting process for college lacrosse began at an early age. My destiny was written by the high school I chose to attend: St. Mary's of Annapolis. This school had a legacy of producing fantastic, talented women's lacrosse players, and was arguably one of the best programs in the country. I had been playing lacrosse since the early age of seven years old; always played above my year, and always played with girls that were years older than me.
My high school coach was also my club lacrosse coach, Sue Chittim. Chittim, as we lovingly referred to her as, was one of the best coaches in the Anne Arundel Area, and had a lot of history and connections with college coaches. Early on in my sophomore year fall, I began to write letters expressing my interest in different college lacrosse programs. I sent my letters EVERYWHERE! I sent letters to every Ivy League school, to Hopkins, Maryland, Notre Dame, Stanford, basically every college or university across the nation I could ever be interested in to play Division I lacrosse. I included academic information about myself and expressed interest in their lacrosse programs. I immediately began a correspondence with these schools, and invited them to watch me play in tournaments and game throughout the rest of my career.
By the end of my junior year of high school, I began to stand out as one of the best high school lacrosse players in the area. I was named All-County, All-Metro, and All-American. This was the most important recruiting time of my life: Junior year summer. I went to as many tournaments as I could, played lacrosse all through the year, and tried my best to stand out as an all-around talented athlete. This time in my life could have been severely stressful, although I never perceived it to be. To me, I was just playing the sport I loved and having the time of my life with my teammates, who were also my best friends.
On July 1st, I began to receive phone calls from various coaches around the country who had seen me play. I was recruited by Yale University, University of Notre Dame, Penn State University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Delaware, University of Richmond, Princeton University, and Loyola College, among various other schools. I was also recruited by many D-III schools, but was uninterested in pursuing that venue.
This was a process of mutual selection. The schools that were interested in me had to want me due to my criterion as a player, and respectively, I had to want them due to their criterion as a college. I talked with countless coaches, assistant coaches, and consulted my parents as much as possible. I finally narrowed it down to the following: Penn State University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Richmond and Princeton University. As an athlete, you can only take five official visits to various colleges. I decided four was enough for me.
My first visit to Penn State University was unreal. I got to be on the same football field as Joe Paterno, one of the most admired football coaches of his time. The lacrosse coaches were very nice and welcoming. My mom came with me, and we were both blown away. Penn State University was enormous and despite its size, I was still able to meet with the President of the entire school. Everyone loved being apart of the chaos. It was overwhelming. But, it wasn't truly me.
The next visit I went to was University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution, extremely impressive. Everyone I met was incredibly intelligent. I was blown away by the prestige and the dignity that this institution was known for. The coach was very classy and the team seemed very together and dedicated. To be honest, I was intimidated. I doubted myself, was I really Ivy League material? I had no idea.
My last visit was to the University of Richmond. I was unsure of what to expect. I knew it was small, I knew the South wasn't so up to date on lacrosse culture and I knew they didn't have a boy's lacrosse team, which I wasn't thrilled about.
However, the moment I arrived in Richmond, I knew something was different about this school. I walked onto campus and it just felt right. I loved the close knit feel of the university. I loved the fact that I could walk the entire campus in under 45 minutes. I hung out with the team, and felt the immediate chemistry you feel when you stumble into something truly real, truly unique. I loved the camaraderie between the teammates, from the senior class down to the freshman class as everyone was treated equal on this team. Something clicked in my heart and in my head; I knew I was at home.
I've been at the University of Richmond for four years now. It's the end of my senior year, and I am finally forced to look back on the four years I've spent on my academics, athletics, and interpersonal relationships.
Well, time has certainly flown. The recruiting process made me follow my heart. I've learned that when you follow your instincts, you can't go wrong.
Listen to your parents; accept their advice, but ultimately: decide for yourself. Life will not be over if you choose to go against their wishes. In fact, life is just beginning for you.
Don't discount yourself. If you think you deserve more credit, more recognition, more accountability, then ask for it! What do you have to lose, if you never inquire?
Don't settle for second best. Push yourself, just like you would on the field, until you know you can truly be happy.
Be real. Honestly, if a coach treats you like "all that" when she is recruiting you that doesn't mean you will be when you are on the team. You are going to be at the bottom of the totem pole when you get to college and you are the 'freshmen' and the 'youngest' again. Don't be fooled into thinking you are going to start for college coaches the moment you walk on campus, you'll have to prove yourself to your coaches and teammates.
Don't sweat the small stuff. In the beginning of the recruiting process, you might get ultra frustrated, but it will be fine. There are bumps in the road that is life. Just keep putting the effort in.
For more information check out the Active Recruiting 101 special section.