Updated: Aug 29
The college application process, and the months leading up to it can be extremely strenuous and hectic. I tried to ease some of that burden by leveraging my golf career through the student- athlete recruitment process. While this may sound like an excellent idea, it’s harder than you think - let me explain.
I decided that I wanted to apply overseas, specifically to the US, towards the end of my 11th grade (which is considered late). Luckily for me, I had some impactful passions and a half decent profile for my counsellor to not reject me in our first meeting. This profile was then built more carefully over the next 8 months. Simultaneously, I also reached out to a sport-oriented college recruiting firm to try and use my golf accomplishments in the process, in the hope of being a collegiate golfer. The process was more complex than I imagined.
After talking to a few college golf coaches over the next few months, I ran into a common problem - the coaches, understandably so, did not have a thorough picture of who I was or what scores I might be able to shoot on US golf courses. Since I started the process so late, this was bound to happen. This made me realize that visiting the US is an extremely important step in the recruitment process. However, you need to have a structured tournament plan and scheduled meetings with coaches who could potentially recruit you.
Luckily for me, I did receive some offers from very good academic colleges! However, I wanted to push for even higher academic schools where unfortunately golf wasn’t the driving factor. Eventually, I decided to go the academic route and roll the dice on the unpredictable application process. A few factors contributed to my decision making process. Firstly, I believed that my academic potential allowed me to apply to higher academic colleges than the ones I was getting through golf. Secondly, and more importantly, I was sure that I did not want to pursue golf as a career after college, which made me that much more focused on getting the best academic experience as possible. My first preference was to be a collegiate golfer, but I did not want that at an expense of a better academic experience. When I realized where I stood with the golf coaches, I decided to change gears and go back into the normal pool of applicants and fortunately for me, it all worked out when I got into my dream school - UCLA!
So, the two things I would like you to take away from this insightful journey are:
Start the student-athlete recruitment process as early as possible (During Grade 10 is ideal) so that you have the opportunity to meet coaches, play tournaments in the US, and have enough time to build deep meaningful relationships with college coaches.
Always keep your goal in mind. There can be tons of distractions in the process, but always remember why you’re doing this and what you’re trying to accomplish at the end of it all. That should make every decision that much simpler!
All the best!