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1 Post tagged with the women's-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.

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