Ask the Experts
Fall Signing Week '11: Real World with Tennis Parent Mary Dizon
by Annette Broersma
, 12 November 2011
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Mary Dizon is a full-time teacher and mother of four in Southern California. All of her children have played tennis and also competed in swimming, football, soccer and baseball. Two of them are serious tennis players.
Her son played junior college tennis in SoCal for a top team, but it was not the perfect fit for a variety of reasons. "We really didn't know how to go about the recruiting process," said Dizon. "We thought the coaches had to come to us."
The process went much smoother with her youngest daughter, Meghan Sheehan-Dizon. "Fortunately, for our younger daughter, we were more informed and better directed," said Dizon. Meghan was recruited by many excellent schools, and she signed this past spring with Brigham Young University, receiving a full tennis scholarship. Meghan's top national ranking was in the top 115 nationally.
Annette Broersma (AB): What are the first things you remember doing to help your daughter start thinking about the college search process?
Mary Dizon (MD):
Tennis parent Mary Dizon
The first thing we did was to take her around to the local colleges, visiting their campuses and tennis facilities. We did this late in her sophomore year - and then her junior year.
I wish we would have started sooner. I think it takes a while for the ideas to sink in and become real for a young girl.
I also wish we would have looked at more out-of-state colleges because there are some really beautiful schools out there. Coaches from many of those schools were very interested in Meghan and made lots of contact. Some of them even extended offers without an official visit, but she wasn't prepared for the idea of going to a school far away from home.
AB: Did you attend college matches when she was a junior player?
MD: We attended some college matches at the same time we started visiting the schools. Once again, we should have started sooner, we should have been looking at more teams.
AB: Did you attend college placement workshops or seminars?
MD: My husband attended a USTA scholarship seminar and came back with lots of good info, but that was her freshman year and there was no follow-through. We thought it was too early to start, but that actually would have been a good time to begin the process.
AB: Did you talk to other parents about what lay ahead when she was still a junior tennis player?
MD: We talked to other parents whose daughters were having a hard time getting recruited either by the school they really wanted, or at all. The stories ran the gamut: not liking the coaches, the player not fitting in with the team, the school not wanting to give a full scholarship, or no scholarship for that year was available - but they would give them the next three if they walked-on the first year ... all sorts of stories like that. It was an eye-opener because these were good players!