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School’s out for the summer (or almost is)! Now it is time to redirect your focus to life beyond high school (yes, there is life past high school).  But for athletes who are aspiring to play a sport in college, summer is no snooze. It is time to work hard, get seen and see schools. So what do you need to do and when do you need to do it? That what I am here to share.

So you just survived your first and second year of high school (phew) and the thoughts of college are beginning to creep into your head. Where do I want to go? What do I want to study? What classes do I need to get into certain schools? As all of this can be somewhat overwhelming, let’s just focus on one aspect at a time.

Freshman/Sophomore/Junior Summer

This is the best time to really get around and see campuses. Because as you all know from my first blog, really loving the school you go to, regardless of sports, is very important.  So if you are traveling around to play in tournaments, go on vacation, or visiting family and friends, take advantage of the travels to go see the local colleges to check out the campus and area. While there you can take a campus tour and if you have given a heads up to the coach of your sport, you can even go in and meet with them. Remember, they cannot call you or contact you in any way, but you can call whenever you want.  Set up a time to meet with them and they might even take you around the campus themselves! This elimination period will be helpful as you enter your junior summer as that is the time when you need to really narrow down your schools and begin to target your goals. By seeing the campuses alone, you will be able to eliminate many schools, thus leaving you with a more reasonable list to deal with.camps1

Summer camps are also very important. While all of your friends are going to Camp Nowhere for fun and kayaking, you need to be going to sports camps for a school that you are strongly interested in. Not only will five days of camp help improve your skills, but it will give you the most intimate interaction with the college coaches and some of the current players, as they tend to work camps. You will live on campus, interact with and be trained by the coaches, as well as be a part of high intensity competition. It is not only a great way to get to know their style of coaching, but for them to get to know you as a player and whether you will fit in with their program, and vice versa.

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My name is Alyssa Sobolik and I live, breath and sleep soccer. I’m from Northern California and played soccer in college at Santa Clara University from 2001 to 2005. I currently live and coach soccer in San Diego where my main focus is helping prepare athletes for the opportunity to play soccer in college and then help them through the process. Because of my experiences and first-hand knowledge of playing college soccer, coaching college soccer and coaching club soccer, I am able to better prepare athletes for what steps and efforts need. I aim to help athletes not only get seen by college coaches but to ultimately make the right decision on what school to attend.

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Picking a school to go to is tough enough without factoring in playing for a team. Do I want to go to a big school, small school, east coast, west coast, private versus public etc?  These are decisions that every college bound student must make.  But, as an athlete you have to take it one step further and see if the sports program is right for you.  Each prospective athlete is allowed five official visits that each school pays for. I definitely recommend taking all five to get the best perspective on each school. I took my five to Santa Clara University, University of Michigan, University of Florida, University of Connecticut and Boston College.

Here is a check list of major questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a school as a student athlete:

1.       Do I want to go to a big school or a small school? How big a school is can greatly affect your college experiences. University of Michigan has roughly 27,000 undergraduate students. University of Santa Clara has 4,000. A smaller school is going to give you a more intimate college experience where a larger school will provide surprises every day.

2.       Which areas of the country would I be happy to live in? Growing up in California, I wanted to go away for college to experience a different lifestyle. Ultimately I ended up choosing a school 20 minutes from where I was raised. The reasons were simple in the sense that Michigan was too cold and I didn’t want to play in the snow, Florida was too hot and humid for me. Both schools I LOVED, but didn’t feel I would be happy there.

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