When I first picked up a lacrosse stick in the 4th grade, I had no idea how many doors it would open. My parents, on the other hand, knew exactly what they were doing when they signed me up for my first lacrosse clinic. Every year they heard of more and more girls going to college on lacrosse scholarships and wanted to get in on the action. Luckily for them, I fell in love with the sport.
Summer camps and winter clinics dominated my free time. Not only was I getting better at lacrosse, I was being seen and taught by coaches from some of the most dominant lacrosse schools in the country. By my sophomore year in high school, letters began arriving from coaches. I sent countless emails and letters to every D-I and D-III program I had even the slightest interest in. My junior year was a whirlwind of questionnaires and emails, but during the summer before my senior year I had narrowed my list down to three schools.
I was offered official visits at Duke, James Madison University, Cornell and the University of Richmond. I declined the official visit to Cornell (too cold!), and packed my bags for my big trip South. James Madison was my first visit and one I made primarily to please my father who had fallen in love with the school and was convinced that I would too. He was wrong. I meshed well with the team and with the coaching staff, but something didnt feel right. Plus, I secretly knew I was going to commit to Duke and be a Blue Devil and a Cameron Crazy and live it up in Durham for four amazing years. Wrong again. After building it up for four years, my visit to Duke was a complete disappointment and I felt confused and frustrated at the end of my visit. I was running out of schools! Why had I turned down Cornell? Richmond had been my last choice, and I begrudgingly left my high school friends for one last weekend to visit the school. Even though the campus had just been decimated by a hurricane, it was beautiful. The team was amazing and the students were unbelievably nice. Everything just felt right. I gave my verbal commitment before leaving the campus.
Do not turn down a school just cause. I am still kicking myself for turning down Northwestern University three time defending National Champions - simply because I had never heard of them and they were from Illinois (everyone knows the only good teams are on the East Coast!).
I highly recommend taking all of your official visits. If I had had it my way, I would have committed to Duke before even taking an official visit and it would have been the biggest mistake of my life.
Lastly, go into each visit with an open mind and be polite to the people who are hosting you. Being courteous and respectful will get you far in life, and in the recruiting process.
Have fun, and good luck! Its a crazy time, but its definitely worth it in the end.
Ice hockey was my main sport and Radnor High School had a great up and coming team with a great coach so I was excited and hopeful that my hard work with the team would one day allow me to play at the collegiate level. As it turned out, in my senior year of high school the University of West Chester's Ice hockey coach contacted me and asked me if I was interested in applying and coming out to play for the team. It was an incredible experience to get recruited and having someone want you to come play for there team. I had only applied to a few other colleges but what made my decision a lot easier was the fact that the coach called and had me come out to a few practices meet the guys.
West Chester is a D-1 club team and they play some of the best competition in the world. My freshmen year was so much fun with all the traveling we do and be able to visit some of the top schools in the country such as The Naval Academy, Penn State, Ohio State, and West Virginia. Navy was my favorite trip and I especially enjoyed seeing all the ships and all the security they had on campus. It's something that I will never forget.
The last three years were great and I'll forever remember the championships, heartbreaking losses, bus trips to Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, Pittsburgh, they are something I will treasure forever and it's not because of the success of the team but the memories that were created in those games, and on those trips. I am very thankful I was able to play on a team in college. It made me a better student and person in the end and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing. The friends that I have made over my four years at West Chester have become a family to me and it's been a great time.
Put yourself out there to get noticed even if it's not somewhere you want to go opportunities will come arise from it.
If you decide to go to a school for a sport it doesn't mean you have to play but you should give it a chance even if you decide later that it's not for you.
When I was in eighth grade I decided that I wanted to get a basketball scholarship to college. At that point, I had read about high school girls from my city that had received full basketball scholarships, so I assumed it wasn't a difficult process. I started watching a lot more women's basketball games. I went to UC Santa Barbara games, and watched the big college teams play on TV, like UConn, Duke, Tennessee. I watched players like Sue Bird, Chamique Holdsclaw and Diana Taurasi play. I then found out that if you weren't a top 10 player in the nation, college coaches weren't begging you, it was a much more involved process than I had imagined.
In my sophomore year of high school, with the help of my AAU coach, I started making lists of my target schools. First, I decided what areas (cities/regions) I was interested in. Then I looked into the conferences and schools in those areas. I was sure to be very realistic about the conferences and schools that I looked into. I knew that if I sent game tapes to Tennessee, Duke, or Stanford, I wasn't going to get any responses so I wasn't going to waste time and money doing that. I also took the time to look at teams' rosters. As a point guard, I liked to read about each teams' point guard. Then I sent out letters, my basketball schedules and a game tape to those targeted schools. Some schools showed interest after watching game film and others never responded, but I continued this process throughout my junior year.
The summer before my senior year in high school, I spent traveling to NCAA sanctioned tournaments with my AAU basketball team. There were college coaches from all divisions and all areas of the United States present at these tournaments. To my surprise, several D-I college coaches expressed interest in me. Most of those schools were at the lower end of their conferences, but I didn't care.
In the fall of my senior year, I started narrowing down my targeted schools. The NCAA allows prospective student-athletes to take five official visits to college campuses. They also allow "home visits" in which a college coach is allowed to visit the recruit's home. I had about four different coaches visit my home. This was great because it gave my family an opportunity to meet those coaches and ask questions also. In addition, I scheduled five official visits and had planned on taking all of those visits.
My first visit was to the University of Richmond in Virginia. I had the opportunity to tour the athletic facilities, play pick-up basketball with the team, and socialize with the coaches and players for a weekend. I enjoyed everything the school had to offer. My next visit was to the University of Pacific in Northern California. It was the same itinerary as my last visit and I enjoyed everything the school had to offer.
After taking my second visit, I realized early that the University of Richmond was the "right fit" for me. It's tough to say what I especially liked about the school, the team or the coaching staff, but this is where I wanted to go. I canceled my three remaining official visits and a year later started my freshman year at the University of Richmond, where I spent four great years as a student-athlete.
Always maintain a very good relationship with any and all coaches that you talk to, even if you don't choose to play for that coach, you never know when you may want to contact him/her again.
Being what one would consider a competitive individual and having been involved in sports my entire life, I knew when I entered high school, every practice and competition would in some shape or form affect my future. It had always been a dream of mine to be a collegiate athlete, and ever since I was younger, being an avid soccer player, and admiring the success stories of accomplished athletes, I had hoped to play soccer in college. I was very involved with my club organization in Maryland and played for my high school team in D.C which competed in the fall. When the spring season of my freshman year approached, I had to make a decision about what sport to play. The majority of my friends were trying out for lacrosse, and my desire to spend an extra few hours with them after school ultimately influenced me to try out as well despite the fact that it was something entirely new to me.
My fondness for the sport of lacrosse grew following my freshman year, as did my commitment. As my level of seriousness increased, my drive for soccer lessened. I chose to focus my attention on lacrosse, and therefore joined a club team whose main purpose was to get their players recruited to play in college. This team opened my eyes to the world of lacrosse, and made me increasingly excited about the opportunities I was about to experience.
The college recruiting process is a difficult one, and something that is easy to get wrapped up in. As a junior in high school I received a lot of attention from college programs, and at first found myself completely overwhelmed. I knew I had to set some standards as to what was important to me in a university. First and foremost, I wanted to go to a school where I could develop not only athletically, but academically. The social scene was an important factor as well, as was location. I knew I wanted to go south, and take advantage of the warm weather and southern hospitality that that particular culture possesses.
After narrowing down my options based on the above classifications, I ended up accepting 5 official visits. I traveled to Georgetown University, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, James Madison University and Vanderbilt University my junior year of high school. Each of the first four schools I visited had specific qualities that I could relate to and that I really admired. I found myself in an unfamiliar state of mind one of utter confusion. I knew I would be happy at any of the schools I visited, and did not know how to differentiate between them. At first I was apprehensive about adding another school to the mix, however figured I should finish the process out and take my last official visit to Vanderbilt. The minute I stepped on the campus in Nashville, Tennessee everything felt right. I not only loved the team and the coaching staff, but I felt that Vanderbilt was a school where I would enjoy myself outside of lacrosse. I was right and I really enjoyed my experience at Vanderbilt.
You never know what can happen from an athletic stand point injuries ail individuals and programs deteriorate. You have to make sure the school itself is a right fit for your personality, rather than completely base your decision on whether or not you like the team and coaches.