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Countdown: Your College Choice is a Forty-Year Decision
by Kristin Gobberg, 7 April 2014
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During these final months before graduation, many of you are anxiously awaiting admissions decisions and pouring through notes from each visit, looking to make a final college choice. It can be a stressful time - especially as an athlete. While your peers simply need to send in applications and wait to hear back from admissions, student-athletes have a much more daunting decision. Tennis will be just one part of your college experience, although a critical one, and it is important to examine all sides of the equation.
Thinking beyond college graduation may seem ludicrous right now, but you should always be mindful about how current decisions shape your future. The majority of you will not play on the pro circuit after graduation. Most will enter the workforce and shape a career in the real world - almost as daunting as coming back down 0-5 in the third set. Decide what else you want to do with your time in college and how it pertains to your career.
As you sit down with your family and look over your college options, pull out a piece of paper and answer the following questions.
Decide what is most important to you. Is it cost? Do you want to be closer to home so your parents can see your matches? Where do you want to play in the lineup? Do you want tennis to be a major player in your college life - or do you want to explore new activities like writing for the college newspaper or volunteering in the admissions department? Every athlete has their own unique recruiting process, full of different goals and needs. What are yours?
After you list your priorities, take action on these decisions and communicate with coaches. Make sure they address your concerns and questions up front instead of avoiding the tough issues. Tell the coach if your family's financial contribution cannot meet the cost of the school. Ask them about the lifestyle of players on the team. Does everybody travel? How often do challenge matches take place to determine the lineup? Gather as much information as you can to factor into the decision-making process.
Use this decision-making checklist:
- After the coach makes an official offer, find out the deadline for that offer.
- Do you need to make some last minute, campus visits?
- Review the initial need-based offer and see if you can appeal the package.
- Check TennisRecruiting.net to see who else has committed to that school.
Once you've chosen a college, review this post-decision checklist:
- Inform all other coaches who recruited you that you have chosen a school. Don't let them find out by seeing your commitment listed on TennisRecruiting.net.
- Review the deadline for putting down your deposit.
- Ask the coach about housing and if freshmen athletes live together.
- Mark you calendar and count down the days to sign your NLI!
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