COVID-19 impacts on the college recruitment process

Story by Kahlen Miao
Staff Writer

Illustration by Nicholas Forman
Staff Illustrator

stressful during the regular school year. However, when a global pandemic is added to the mix, challenges can arise. Seniors Lindsay Michaels, Reo Snyder, and Maya Villaseñor shared their college recruitment experience during the pandemic with Tiger.

Swimmer Villaseñor has been applying to college recruitment websites since her sophomore year, which made the virtual transition a little less out of the ordinary. Instead of in-person meetings Villaseñor met with coaches over video calls where she talked about scholarship offers and took campus tours virtually. While she wasn’t able to interact with coaches and show them what she could do her junior year, she received emails about college recruitment opportunities and talked to a

few schools. After considering her options and looking into the specifics of the school’s campus and location among many other factors, she ultimately committed to the University of Jamestown.

“When everything started getting locked down [last spring], [I] didn’t really get a season to go to CIF and talk to coaches and interact with them and show them what I could do,” Villaseñor said. “So [college recruitment] wasn’t really something on my mind, but I had been getting emails from different coaches from different schools around the country, talking to them about different opportunities they wanted to give me.”

Missing out on touring colleges in person and not getting the full experience with overnight stays made it especially difficult for cross country and track runner Lindsay Michels to figure out the college that was best fit for her. Instead of staying overnight and bonding with the team

in person, she met with them through video calls and is able to constantly text and communicate with them.

“I got to call a ton of the current team members which really helped because I didn’t have a good sense of the team from all the way across the country,” Michels said. “It was such a bummer that no athletes this year had a chance to do an overnight stay, which I guess is universal, so we’re hoping that it all works out when we get there.”

During a regular year, senior soccer athlete Reo Synder would have participated in a soccer showcase, tournaments designed for college recruitment that allow students time to connect with coaches. In lieu of the showcases, Synder prepared a highlight reel — a short video clip that relays his best moments in action. The next step for Synder was to reach out to coaches with his highlight reel via email. After receiving personal responses about half the time from coaches, many of them wanted to see him play in-person.

“I didn’t want to take the time to wait until I could play in order to sign with someone,” Snyder said. “We’re barely starting back up to play so [in-person meetings] would have been delayed until now (when athletics started again), which would have been really stressful because right now is the time regular colleges you applied to get back to you, so you would have to make a decision.”

Despite missing out on many opportunities and the guidance of others to help navigate the process, they are all excited to have made it through the process with good outcomes. Villaseñor, a graduating athlete, leaves helpful insight for future recruitment seasons.

“Don’t hesitate to reach out to a school. If there’s a school you’re really looking at that your really like don’t be afraid to reach out to the coaches and tell them that you’re interested in being a part of their team.”

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