Isabelle Commits to Harvard!
Date Posted: 8/4/2015
Q: “Congratulations on your decision to play at Harvard! Can you tell us about your recruiting process to provide some insight for our younger players?”
A: "Thank you! I’ve grown up around volleyball most of my life, as my dad and older sister both play. I fell in love with the sport when I was about 11 years old, and I knew I wanted to play in college after watching my sister go through the process and commit to Northwestern. My own recruiting process started during my freshman year of club at Wildcat Juniors. I started reaching out to coaches with introductory emails and sent them highlight videos and my tournament schedules. I tried to keep an open mind and not limit my options, so I initially reached out to almost 30 schools. I then spent my sophomore year researching these schools in order to narrow my list down to the ones that were the best fit for me. I’ve always been very focused on academics, so that was my number one priority when considering schools. I made sure to keep in regular correspondence with all the coaches on my short list.
During the spring of my sophomore year, I received an offer from a Big 10 school, which accelerated my need to make a decision sooner rather than later. I spent the summer between my sophomore and junior years flying around the country, attending 6 camps and visiting 8 schools. At each of these camps, I made sure to ask the coaches and players many questions so that I could get an accurate understanding of what it would be like to attend school there. When the summer was over, I objectively assessed everything I had learned by laying out the pros and cons of each school, both academically and athletically. By the start of my junior year, I knew I wanted to play Ivy League volleyball. While participating in the Harvard camp that summer, I fell in love with the school, the campus, the style of coaching, and the program as a whole. I continued corresponding closely with the coaches, and I went on an unofficial visit there during the fall of my junior year. They arranged for me to attend a class, spend time with the team, watch two matches, and stay overnight with one of the players. This gave me a great feel for what it would be like to be both a student and volleyball player there. I made similar trips to two other schools that were on my short list, and this clarified my decision-making process. Leaving my visit at Harvard, I knew 100% that this was where I wanted to be, both in the classroom and on the court. I stayed in close contact with the coaches, and was finally able to verbally commit on July 2nd of this year."
Q: "How has Wildcat Jrs. prepared or helped you through the college recruiting process?”
A: "Wildcat Juniors has been extremely helpful in supporting me through the college recruiting process. Every coach I’ve had has played collegiate volleyball and knows exactly how the recruiting process works. It was very easy for me to go to them with any questions. In addition, because college coaches can’t contact players directly before September 1st of their junior year, my Wildcat coaches played the essential role of liaison whenever college coaches needed to get in touch with me. The training that I’ve received from Wildcat Juniors is the main reason why I am where I am today. The practices are intense, and I’ve been given the opportunity to develop my skills as a Libero and as a team player. Being part of Wildcat Juniors also enabled me to have a high degree of exposure to college coaches at the many tournaments we've attended each year around the country. This is a very important aspect of the recruiting process - highlight videos are helpful, but college coaches really want to see you play in person!"
Q: "Is there is any advice you would give our younger Wildcat Jrs. players that want to pursue playing volleyball in college?”
A: "I would advise them to look at their future with an open mind when it comes to initially identifying schools they might be interested in. Don’t go into the process thinking you already know what school you want to go to. In reality, many schools you might not have considered may surprise you! I'd also recommend that you start the recruiting process early. If playing volleyball in college is a dream of yours, you can probably start sending out emails as early as the middle of freshman year. If a coach doesn’t respond, don’t get discouraged. They get countless emails from players every day, but if you remain in front of them on a regular basis they will ultimately take note of you. Keep in mind that recruiting needs change very often, so it’s important to stay in contact with coaches even if they don’t anticipate needing your position during your graduating year. Lastly, I would tell all players to just work as hard as you can, but be sure to enjoy the game in the process! The more fun you have on the court, the better you’ll play. Coaches will notice your enthusiasm, as passion is something a coach can’t teach. Being able to play for Wildcat Juniors is a privilege, and I’m extremely appreciative of all the opportunities they’ve provided me with over the last 6 years!"