UCLA '05 - Women's Volleyball
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to receive a college scholarship for athletics. I was an avid tennis player but thought I would give volleyball a shot. I tried out for the 7th grade volleyball team and made it. And surprisingly, I was really good at volleyball! Now came the hard part. Tennis and volleyball were in the same season. In order to be successful and achieve my goal of being a college athlete, I had to choose one sport to focus on. I opted for volleyball and went from there.
I played high school and club volleyball. The club volleyball was where I was introduced to the world of college volleyball recruiting. I was very fortunate to have played on the top teams in the nation, surrounded by stellar players. During tournaments, our court would be surrounded with college coaches who were watching and taking note of potential athletes. I can remember after my first major club tournament my freshman year in high school, my mailbox was filled with generic introduction letters from college volleyball coaches complete with questioners to be filled out. I didnt care what schools the letters were from and I took the time to fill out the questioners so the schools could start an athlete profile on me. I didnt know what the future would bring so I made a point to keep my options open. No matter what school it was, I was honored that somebody wanted me to be a part of their volleyball program.
The most hectic time of the college recruiting process was the summer of my junior year. This is when college coaches could actually call. I enjoyed getting to know the coaches on a one on one basis. I narrowed my choices down to 10 schools and let those 10 schools know that they were my top choices. It was great to hear from some of the schools that they were still interested in me, but it was also great to hear from some schools that they could not use me on their team. This helped me narrow my choices down. I was down to five schools that wanted me and who I in turn wanted to consider. My top five schools were University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California, University of Hawaii, University of Michigan, and University of Virginia. The first three schools were all top 10 programs, while the others were pushing to get into the top 25.
I continued to keep in contact with the schools and scheduled unofficial visits to the campuses. I was able to meet the entire coaching staff, players, and possibly view a practice at each school. By my senior year I had let USC, Michigan, and University of Virginia know that I had moved on in the recruiting process. I emailed each school thanking them for the opportunity and wished them luck in their upcoming seasons. I then went on official visits to University of California Los Angeles and University of Hawaii. Official visits are when the university pays for your entire trip and sell you on their school and athletic program. I loved everything about both schools, but had to make the most important decision of my life.
I choose to attend UCLA on a full volleyball scholarship. The coaching staff was everything I was looking for in a staff and the girls on the team were a great group with the same volleyball goals as I had. I felt a strong connection with the program. I wasnt questioning my decision at all. I knew I had made the right one.
Keep your options open
Narrow down schools make a list 30 to 20 to 10 to 5
If coaches are not contacting you, dont be afraid to contact them MARKET YOURSELF
Make unofficial visits to campuses make sure school is in session
Enjoy the process!
For more information check out the Active Recruiting 101 special section.