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From the Trenches

2 Posts tagged with the woman 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!









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

3,072 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: ncaa, tennis, women, oregon, recruiting, college, recruit, recruiting-101, woman, portland, women's-tennis

Michelle's Story

Posted by saraallent Apr 22, 2008

Rowan University '02 - Women’s Basketball

I grew up in a basketball family.  My dad played at Boston College and I remember being very young and watching him play in the local men’s leagues.  He would always let me come out on the court and shoot and dribble around.  I knew from the moment I made my first basket that I loved the sport.  I think growing up and seeing the love my dad had for the sport and hearing his stories of growing up playing basketball made me want to do the same. 


As I progressed through school and dedicated more and more time to basketball I realized that I would be able to follow in my dad’s footsteps and play in college.  The recruiting process for me was very interesting because I am an identical twin and grew up playing with my sister.  When we both decided we wanted to play basketball in college we made a pact to play together.  We would become a package deal to the collegiate basketball coaches.  I think this decision, for the most part, played to our advantage.  We were very similarly skilled and coaches loved the fact they could make one recruiting trip to watch two players.


My sister and I spent the last few years of high school playing our hearts out, getting our name out there to as many schools as we could, researching schools in various locations, sending game tapes and resumes, having numerous conversations nightly with coaches and scheduling campus visits.  We also made many road trips all over the east coast. 


Now at the age of 18 I was supposed to narrow down a huge list of schools and I had no idea how to do so when all I knew was that I wanted to play basketball in college.  On top of that, after I spoke with each coach I thought I wanted to go to “that” school.  At one point it became very overwhelming.  I remember one night at dinner being close to tears.  I just had no idea what to do and coaches were starting to give my sister and me deadlines for a yes or no answer.  I thought, “I am not going to be able to make up my mind and then I am going to end up playing no where.”  My dad, having gone through the same thing when he was 18 and being recruited, asked a few simple questions that helped with our decision:


  • What team do you see yourself practicing with every day for four years?

  • What coach do you see yourself playing for?

  • Can you imagine yourself at one of those schools without basketball because things can change and basketball can not be the one and only thing luring you to that school?


From these questions my sister and I narrowed it down to Rowan University.  Rowan was close to home (so my parents could come to all the games), with great academics and a huge on-campus sports community.  It was a great choice and I got a great education, made some amazing friends and got to play the sport I loved with my sister. 


Trust me there is a school out there for you so don’t be discouraged.  And you will make the right choice!








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

3,254 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, women, recruiting, recruit, recruiting-101, woman, women's-basketball