Before June 15, my mind was filled with “what ifs” and other questions. Who will reach out? What if they are uninterested? And, what’s the next step? I had known so much about the recruiting process up until this point, but now I’m entering a new territory with new people, coaches.
As with all things unknown, the 15th quickly became a “me” thing and less of a reach out into the unresponsive void. On calls, I was commonly asked how the process has been. While I typically responded simply by saying it’s exciting; that’s the truth. After a long—and I mean long!—day of talking to coaches back to back, repeating things I’d already said multiple times, and mindlessly nodding and smiling, I realized how much of a whirlwind it was. I’m finally talking to coaches I’ve looked up to for so long, have seen on TV and social media, and have texted videos to with, of course, no response throughout my entire process! It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share it in this column.
On the morning of June 15, I woke up to numerous text messages asking to schedule calls and the generic yet genuine, “We’re excited to learn more about you and tell you about our program!” Nonetheless, I was super excited and immediately texted one of my top schools back suggesting to call in 20 minutes. Now I was getting ready for gym and with a toothbrush in my mouth screaming, “MOM! I’m calling them at 8:40 a.m.!” Excitedly showing her the recruiting video they sent me, I rushed around to get dressed, got in the car, and hopped on the call. Looking back, I regret a lot about that call not because it went poorly, but rather, I was just so excited that I forgot my key questions to ask, I felt I wasn’t well-spoken enough, and I didn’t take notes. After about 15 calls, though, I’ve mastered the art of simple communication while still making sure I’m learning about the program.
As of now, I’m currently narrowing down my schools and finalizing official visit dates. It’s been a process not only to determine my own interest in schools, but of figuring out how much they have in me. It’s a back-and-forth thought process of, “Do they like me enough?” and “What if I dedicate time with them and it ends up being unsuccessful?” I have to remind myself that this is for me, and if a school doesn’t want me, it’s their loss.
When it comes to my priorities in a school, they don’t only include solid academics and a positive team environment, but also the need for a full scholarship. Because of this, I’ve dove deeper into gauging coaches’ interest while also weighing schools against each other to narrow things down.
The best thing about this process is that everyone’s is unique. That’s why I sought a second perspective on June 15th from Maddy Dorbin. She’s a five-star recruit, tied for seventh in the rankings, and has a perfect point total on floor. She was crowned as a national all-around, floor, and bars champion in 2022 and Nastia Liukin Cup qualifier. As a gymnast at a historically renowned club for successful collegiate gymnasts, Georgia Elite, Dorbin is set up for a bright future.
On June 15, Dorbin went about her day as normal by going to practice, but within a couple minutes of her first text, the phone rang and she received her first offer! Since then, she says she’s received a few more, as well as multiple official visit offers. Her interest dives into mainly SEC and Pac-12 schools, but Dorbin says, “Having an open mind early in the recruitment process is extremely important.” But, with officials being booked and interest being shown early, coaches and gymnasts are weeding out their contenders and doing it fast. Dorbin notes that she’s established her top five schools and booked her officials.
The hardest part she says? Saying no. “I feel that I’m closing off opportunities. However, it’s critical because you don’t want to lead coaches on nor waste their time.” Right now Dorbin is prepping for her officials starting in September by adding to her wardrobe and shopping for all things college gear!
On June 21, I decided to post my first offer from Illinois. While I received the offer on June 15th, it took inspiration from Kelise Woolford to make my process even more public. I feel ashamed that I felt it was wrong and even scary to post an offer. After being transparent with my process for so long, how could I shut the doors now? From the start, I’ve made it my mission to be an open book about a process that is so widely unspoken of in the world of college gymnastics. Seeing Woolford’s offer announcement from Kentucky made me say, “Wow, she did the scary thing, so I can do it too.”
Once I posted my own, I also tweeted about the discrepancies between large media sports, like football and basketball, and gymnastics. Gaining hundreds of likes and many retweets on that tweet, I hope that this mindset becomes more common across the sport. Transparency not only sparks interest but learning. When we can learn more about the process, we become even more interested in what happens after and look forward to following the person who was transparent. So, to the class of 2025 and beyond, be open! Be open to everything that comes along with the process and open to the gym fans and little girls who want to know more to support you along the way.
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Article by Sydney Seabrooks
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