By Natalie Lorenzo, Editorial Staff (‘23)

As Seniors stress about submitting their college applications, athletes in Indian Hills have an extra burden on applications: recruitment. This process, which starts at the beginning of high school for most, is coming to a close for seniors as offers are being made and commitments are posted. Many Indian Hills students have already committed to their college sports teams finishing the process of striving for collegiate-level athletics, while others remain hopeful for offers. 

 There are three divisions for college athletics, each with a different rigor of recruitment. The hardest and longest process for recruitment is at the Division I level, where coaches begin recruiting as early as seventh or eighth grade and send out offers late in sophomore year. Division II athletics have a similar recruitment process as Division I with slightly less rigor, while Division III athletics are still very competitive in the recruitment process, but the process starts in early high school and most commitments are done late junior to early senior year. 

Senior Kristina O’Neil announced on Thursday (9/29) that she was accepting her offer to play Division III soccer at Castleton University in Vermont. She discussed the recruitment process and how difficult some aspects could be. She stated, “Communicating with college coaches was definitely the most difficult part. Most times when I sent out emails I would never get a response, so it was difficult to keep searching for schools I was interested in and sending emails. It was frustrating how large the amount of emails I had to send out was compared to the amount of responses I would get back.” This frustration is shared amongst many high school prospective recruits as college coaches get hundreds of emails a day. Kristina also discussed the need to start the process early as she states, “I think I got overwhelmed with the amount of emails I needed to be sending as well as how much time it was taking up in my life, but if I had designated more time and been more on top of it I would have had more options to choose from when making my final decision.” 

Another difficulty of recruitment for athletes is finding a balance in priorities. Many athletes might have offers from schools that do not match their academic interests and they will have to choose which is more important. Many coaches remind athletes that they are “student-athletes” not “Athlete students”, in order to prioritize education over athletics. Making tough decisions, are not always easy during the recruitment process. Kristina comments on this principle stating, “Through the whole process, I made sure that the schools I was contacting to play for were schools I was genuinely interested in and would want to also be at academically.”

While recruitment is definitely a stressful and difficult process, it is also very exciting for student-athletes like Kristina. Between getting offers and trying to impress coaches the process seems to be worthy of time and effort. While the process was difficult for Kristina she also stated, “My favorite aspect was probably going to showcases. I was able to play my game while also having college coaches come out to watch me. Most of the time I got to travel to cool places for showcases too, so they were a lot of fun.” 

She finished the interview with a piece of advice for prospective athletes of all ages, “Definitely take the time to evaluate what you want from your college experience. Knowing the major you want to go into and the size of the school you want when going into the recruiting process was definitely super helpful when determining which schools to contact or how to narrow down your list. And definitely don’t be afraid to ask for help! I went through most of the process by myself, but most of the time your coaches have a lot of contacts and are always willing to help you in any way they can.”

Overall, while the recruiting process can be difficult, it is more than worth it for students who wish to continue their athletic careers while furthering their education.