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From the Trenches

3 Posts tagged with the tennis tag

Alyson's Story

Posted by saraallent Apr 22, 2008

University of Portland '06 - Women's Tennis

It seemed as if all of the top junior tennis players in Southern California were bound for the premier Division I programs. Growing up playing competitively at both the sectional and national levels, I was on track to play for one of those top programs too. And that’s exactly when the injuries kicked in.

 

In my junior year of high school I managed to tear the cartilage in my left wrist and get stress fractures in the tibia's in both of my legs. I was not able to play for six months and my hopes of playing for a PAC-10 team were gone.

 

Despite my frustration and discouragement, I had to start looking at some less “glamorous” colleges that I would consider attending. I was getting some letters of interest and did some research of my own. I came to realize that tennis wasn’t everything. A good fit academically and socially were also very important to me. Based on scholarship offers, quality of the tennis teams and business schools, I ended up going on recruiting trips to three extremely different colleges in search of the perfect fit.

 

I went to George Washington University, which had great academics and was a cool city, but the urban campus wasn’t for me. Next, was the University of Iowa, which had an awesome tennis team and was party central, but I didn’t feel comfortable with the coach. Finally, the University of Portland, which gave me a good vibe and I loved the coach, but it rained a lot and the school was really small. All the schools had their pluses and minuses. How was I going to decide?

 

I initially wanted to go to George Washington because of its prestigious academics; unfortunately I just could not picture myself going there after the visit. It was not what I was looking for in a college. GW was out!

 

I had a great time at Iowa! I had friends that were going there, I liked the school spirit, the big football team and wanted to play for their top 25 tennis team. However, if I went there I would probably not play my freshman year, but I didn’t care, I welcomed the challenge! After speaking with the girls on the team, none of them seemed to be too fond of the coach, which worried me. I wasn’t sure about working hard to improve my game, but not being able to play in matches for a year. On top of that, I wasn’t to excited about spending a few hours a day with an overly intense, disliked coach, which made Iowa start looking a little less glamorous. However, I still wanted to go there!

 

Finally there was Portland. I had never even heard of the school before I was being recruited, so I almost didn’t even give it a chance. The coach was a friend of a friend, who came with a good recommendation. They had a pretty decent tennis team, a great business school and the campus looked beautiful. My parents actually pushed for me to check this school out, even though I would not have picked it as one of my top three. Despite being hesitant about playing indoors year round and attending a school with only 3,200 students, I decided to make the trip up there. A couple of the girls on the team picked me up from the airport and I instantly clicked with them. The coach went out of her way to spend time with me and show me around the school and the city. I spent a day attending some classes and really liked the professors, small classes and student interaction. I felt very welcomed by everyone, the coach seemed great, and I felt very engaged in the classes I attended.

 

I chose to go to the University of Portland and I loved my college experience athletically, academically and socially. Looking back, I am so glad I listened to my parents’ advice. They had my best interest in mind in trying to help me find a great fit, rather than choosing the college I wanted to attend based on their women’s tennis team ranking.

 

My Advice:

 

  • Listen to your gut feeling - I tried to envision myself in a “day in the life” of a student athlete at each one of the schools.

  • Academics - Tennis was my passion for the time being, but I wasn’t going pro. I needed to find the best academic fit to help me pursue my career ambitions of working in marketing and advertising.

  • The coach and team – You will be spending most of your time with your coach and team. Your coach will become your mentor and your teammates will become your friends. Choose wisely!

 

I don’t know if there is a right or wrong way to go about selecting a college, but I strongly recommend you taking time to think about why you really want to go to a certain school, is it for the glamor or because it is the most well-rounded fit for YOU?

 

Good luck and choose wisely!

 

Alyson

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information check out the Active Recruiting 101 special section.

2,565 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: ncaa, tennis, women, oregon, recruiting, college, recruit, recruiting-101, woman, portland, women's-tennis

Beautrice's Story

Posted by saraallent Mar 5, 2008

University of Richmond ‘07 - Women's Tennis

School first, sports second. Those have always been my priorities; however, I fully recognized that my sport, tennis, could provide me with a full scholarship to a good college. So I looked at schools that had excellent academics and relatively strong tennis programs. I wanted to compete at a high level so Division 1 was really my only option. Then I had to decide whether I wanted to start at the top from the get-go or work my way up over the four years. Again, I wanted the highest level of competition and so I choose a smaller tennis program that competed with the Big Guns.

 

The University of Richmond presented a complete package to me. The tennis coach was one of the friendliest coaches I had met prior to my senior year of high school. When it came down to final decisions, it was actually between Penn State University and the University of Richmond; two schools on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. Penn State University – huge, north bound, and with a national reputation – had one thing in common with the smaller, academically demanding school in Richmond, VA: an awesome coach. It was difficult to decline the Nittany Lion’s offer but I simply wanted smaller classes and a more personable relationship with my professors. So I became a Richmond Spider and fully enjoyed my four years there.

 

Of course on my recruiting trips I looked at the library, where I did indeed spend most of my days for my pre-med classes, and the weight room, to see where I would get the “biggest” my 5’5 frame would allow. I met counselors and academic advisors, spoke to many students to gauge the overall campus feel, but the most influential people were my future teammates. Be fully aware that you will spend the majority of your days with your fellow teammates. Richmond’s team liked each other, unlike other squads, and they really seemed to unite like a family. I wanted to be part of this team.

 

My Advice:

 

  • Create a list of what you want in a school. Try to decide on one major or area of study that you’re interested in and talk to the department. You really want to obtain as much information as possible so first determine what you want and then see how well the school matches your interests.

  • Do you have other interests or desires to participate in other extracurricular activities? If so, see how well the team time is managed and how feasible your future schedule will be. A recruiting trip/overnight stay is the best way to experience life on campus so I strongly encourage doing this.

  • Study your coach’s interactions. What is your initial vibe? Obviously they are trying to sell the school to you but talk to the team and assess their happiness with how the coach runs things. Do they push their players too hard? Too easy? Do they understand when life issues get in the way of your athletic performance? Do they simply view you as an athlete under their ownership or do they respect you and see you as a real person?

  • If you’re stuck between two schools, make your final decision as if you weren’t an athlete. What if you get injured and you cannot compete? You want to be somewhere you can enjoy yourself if this huge part of your life went missing.

 

Beautrice

 

 

 

 

 

For more information check out the Active Recruiting 101 special section.

1,835 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: ncaa, tennis, recruiting, college, recruit, recruiting-101

Caitlin's Story

Posted by saraallent Feb 29, 2008

Columbia University ‘99 - Women's Tennis

I played tennis for as long as I can remember. My father used to go down to the local high school courts to practice with our neighbor, and I would tag along to spend time with my dad – and I secretly think he also took me so that my mom would have some time without me around to pester her! Playing tennis as a weekend diversion eventually turned into taking lessons at the local rec center, lessons at a local club, local tournaments, regional tournaments sanctioned by the USTA, and training over the summers and school vacations at various tennis academies. After progressing up the ladder through the tennis world, when it came time to apply to college the next logical step for me was to continue playing in college.

 

During the spring of my junior year of high school I began to focus on which colleges I was interested in, and looked more closely at their tennis programs. Our mailbox was flooded with college brochures and letters from coaches, and I took the time to look through most of them just to educate myself and make sure I was considering all my options. I knew that I wanted a school with a strong academic reputation, but also a women’s tennis program where I could play beginning in my freshman year. I spent a lot of time talking to other tennis players I knew who were older than me and had experience with the coaches and teams through their recruiting experiences. I found that I learned a lot more by speaking to other players and coaches at local clubs than I could from brochures or the coaches themselves.

 

Despite all the phone calls and letters from coaches at various schools trying to convince me to visit and apply to their school, I knew only I could choose what was right for me. I thought a lot about what I wanted not only from college, but also from the tennis program. Since I knew that I was certainly not good enough to become a pro, academics and future career potential were very important to me. Eventually I whittled down my list of potential schools to Columbia University, Georgetown University, Tulane University, and Yale University.

 

Columbia University was my first choice at that point, so I decided to visit and meet the coach and team in October. I remember walking onto the campus for the first time and realizing that this was the place I wanted to spend the next four years. I loved the school, the people, and of course I loved Manhattan! Everything about Columbia University just felt right to me, and after meeting the team, seeing the tennis facilities, and talking with the coaches, I applied under the early decision program. I decided to hold off on visiting the other schools since I knew that I would be attending Columbia University if I were accepted early.

 

In mid-December, I was accepted to Columbia University. The recruiting and application process was finally over! That spring I went back for a weekend to meet other recruits and incoming freshmen. In the fall of 1995, I began my freshman year at Columbia University and my first year playing Division I tennis.

 

My Advice:

 

  • Pay attention to your instincts. If something about a school, team, players or coaches doesn’t seem right for you, don’t apply just because you feel as though you should. There are plenty of schools out there that won’t make you second-guess your choice.

  • Don’t rule out any schools just because you never thought you’d apply there. The time it will take you to research the school and talk to the coaches and players is so minor compared to four years of college. Make sure you always think you made the right choice.

  • Talk to anyone and everyone you can about the schools and athletic programs you’re considering. The most unbiased advice and information won’t come from the coaches or players, but from others who aren’t affiliated with the school.

  • Make sure you would like the school even without the athletics. I stopped playing on the team halfway through my sophomore year, and had I not loved Columbia as a school, I would have spent the rest of my time there being pretty unhappy.

 

Good luck!

 

Caitlin

 

 

 

 

 

For more information check out the Active Recruiting 101 special section.

5,592 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: new, york, ncaa, tennis, recruiting, college, recruit, new-york-city, recruiting-101, columbia-university