Students Reflect on Commitment Process

Athletes express how they knew which school was right for them


Submitted by Higuchi

Higuchi’s piece of advice for future athletes going through the commitment process, “Just taking the time to get to know yourself and what you are looking for in a college experience and taking that into account when making your decision.”


“It was super scary, I’m not gonna lie. I was nervous. But the coach, he was a younger coach, he was a super cool guy.” Nam Truong ‘23, a future college swimmer, described his recruiting experience.

Truong has committed to Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for swimming next year. He has always wanted to go to a military school: “I have a bloodline of service. My dad, my uncles, and my grandpas all served in Vietnam and they lost so they came over here. There are a few reasons I wanted to serve. The first is that I wanted to give back to the country that gave my family a second home, a second life. The second is to uphold the freedom and values of the United States. One big thing is the mentality of not me, then who. It’s not right for me to sit on my couch and fight for my freedom when I am perfectly capable of doing so myself. It’s an honorable thing to do.” 

VMI is not the only military school Truong visited, but it felt right from the start. “[VMI] felt special. I went to a few other schools, I visited a few other schools, and I’ve had guys that I competed with that went to the other school. When meeting the whole team, it didn’t feel connected in the way that VMI does. They were all friends, but at a military school, it’s more of a brotherhood than a friendship. It was a lot closer [of a team].” That connection was a key factor in Truong’s decision. “I loved the team, that’s the reason why I decided to swim. For me, when I was looking at colleges, it came down to their military program. That was the one thing the school had to have was a strong military program and everything else was secondary… When I went on my official [visit], I went up unsure if I wanted to swim or not. When I met the coach and when I met the teammates, I knew that I wanted to swim for the coach and train and compete alongside the cadets that I met. The team made a big impact on me.”



Suzy Higuchi ‘23 is one of two seniors committed to Yale. She will be playing hockey for the currently ranked 6th best women’s hockey team in the country. Before June 13th, the first day of communication between coaches and recruits, she felt nervous: “A lot of coaches and older people who have gone through that process tell you very frequently to enjoy the process. It seems stressful [in]  the moment, but it’s something to look back on. It’s a very exciting process, but at the moment it’s very stressful. Looking back on it, I agree it was eventful and something that was pretty funny now that I see the bigger picture.” That stress was described as “There’s always that fear of ‘oh, I won’t get any offers or ‘I won’t get an offer from the school I really want to go to.’ Once I got into the actual process, just because the coaches are experienced and know what’s going on, once I got into it was very exciting.”

That excitement led to an unofficial visit. Those include a tour of the campus and a Q and A session with the coach and potentially some players. Higuchi chose to ask about the academic-athletic balance at Yale. “There was definitely a really good balance. I know through talking with the students that they do a good job of prioritizing academics but still excelling in athletics, so I thought it was a very good fit for me.”Her parents agreed that it was a good fit: “They’re people who know me, maybe even more than I know myself. I knew that their opinion in the decision would be a factor, but they were all for Yale as well.” 



Charlie Egeland ‘23, also plans to swim in college. For him, swimming is a family affair. “my parents swam so that’s why I started and I liked it so I just kept doing it.” It paid off, and he was recruited by schools like Georgia Tech, Harvard, and Yale. “The first day D1 Schools can start talking to you is June 13th [the summer before] your Junior year, so a bunch of schools reached out to me over text and email… you wake up and you have five,10,15 texts and emails from schools and coaches, it’s pretty cool.”

Egeland knew from the start that he wanted to go to an Ivy League school. He said, “[I’ve wanted to go for] basically forever. Academics, going to Blake it’s just my main priority… I don’t want to go to a fast swimming school that only focuses on swimming because swimming [is] eventually gonna end for me, it’s not like I can go to the NFL. I want to be set up for later.” After his unofficial visits, Egeland narrowed his list down to two schools: Princeton and Yale.

After his visit to Yale, it was an easy decision. Egeland expresses, “I just liked the culture of the team the best. […] and I felt like I connected with Yale the best…I just felt more at home at Yale. I remember when I was leaving my visit to Yale, on the plane, I missed it and wanted to go back. That was something I remember before I made my decision, where I was like ‘yeah, this is the place I want to be.” He added that “[the culture] was probably the deciding factor. I went to Yale in the fall of Junior year, and I went to Princeton in the spring of Junior year, so there was a long gap between my two visits. It’s a long process, a year and a half or two years even, so I just wanted to make sure that I got to know the team as well as I could, see their performance and stuff…Missing the team was something that made me feel like this is the place I want to be,”