College Recruitment: A Stress Free Path Towards College?
Every year, as the month of March rolls around, seniors across Packer wait anxiously for news. College decisions are beginning to arrive, and years of hard work and extracurricular achievement are soon to be quantified in the incoming emails and letters. This prospect is, at the very least, stress-inducing.
“Yeah, the whole thing is really rough,” said senior Nina Houston (‘19).
But for a couple of select athletes in the Class of 2019, the college process is a distant reality. For the many recruited athletes of this year’s senior grade, scholarship offers and verbal commitments from their future schools happened months ago. Amid the tension-filled senior section, they serve as a relaxed and reassured contrast.
Among these seniors is Bowdoin soccer recruit Julian Juantorena (‘19), who committed back in August. As he said it, “[being a recruited athlete] made the process much easier… and definitely less stressful.” To him, that reduction of stress was one of the most significant advantages of the recruitment process.
Unfortunately, this seemingly more relaxing path to college has fostered some resentment and envy in the Packer community. To some, sports recruitment does not seem as legitimate as an academic college acceptance.
“[Getting into college off of athletic merit] doesn’t seem to count as much, at least to me,” said an anonymous junior. In a sense, this notion is understandable. In the context of Packer, which often serves as a pressure cooker of collegiate expectation, one can understand why it may seem unfair to some students that certain athletes appear to have waltzed their way into college.
This view, however, disregards the countless hours of work each given recruit puts into their sport.
Chaz Saferstein (‘20), who is just starting the recruiting process for track and has received letters from Colby, Oberlin, and Pomona, said, “You have school work and you also have your athletic work. Even on the weekends, even on the off-days, you’re still working. I wake up in the morning sometimes, and I’m really, really tired, and that’s because I have to balance both things.”
Peter Cembalest (‘20), a fellow runner and recipient of letters of interest from Wesleyan and Bowdoin, among others, furthered this sentiment, stating, “I run every day of the week. I put so much time and mental energy into my track career. And even though I like it a lot, it often becomes hard. But you have got to push through.”
It is this drive, the drive to push oneself, that Peter said many athletic recruits have in common. And that makes sense—you do not make it to college for a sport without backbreaking and unfaltering work. Though collegiate sports recruitment may technically be less stress inducing than a typical college application process, it is far from an easy way out.