For those student-athletes serious about their sports, prep school is perhaps the best alternative there is. Many transfer from their local schools in hopes of finding the growth and development they need to compete at the next level, this next level being college. Although the college process seems far away at times, it actually starts as early as 10th grade year. Many students are unaware when to initiate this course of action, as the whole process can be an overwhelming ordeal. To spare students the confusion altogether, Andover invited two highly experienced coaches from both a Division I and a Division III school to give helpful insight and answer common questions among student-athletes. Last Tuesday, April 10th, Ainslee Lamb, head coach of women’s field hockey at Boston College, and Flan O’Leary, head coach of men’s soccer at Bowdoin College, offered their knowledge and experience with the college recruiting process. The coaches answered questions as precisely as possible for about an hour, covering many topics ranging from the athletic competition to academic qualifications. When the topic of initiating contact surfaced, both coaches agreed in saying that the initial contact must come from the student. Often, students make the mistake of being too humble. In order to get a sufficient amount of recognition, the student must be persistent and persuasive. Coach Lamb suggested starting off with a brief email incorporating the athlete’s background (position, years played, etc.) followed up by a highlight video or e-mails with a list of events the athlete will be participating in. As Coach Lamb said, “Don’t be afraid to promote yourself.” Also, if a student is interested in a school, he or she should be sure to visit the website and fill out the questionnaire or fill out and return the ones already received from colleges. Another question that arose concerning recruiting was the NCAA clearing house. Most athletes have heard this term before; however, not all fully understand the concept. Simply put, the NCAA clearing house is a formal set of regulations established for the recruiting process. All colleges must abide by these rules in order to avoid overwhelming the student. Athletes who feel they will be partaking in the recruiting process are advised to register online as juniors; however, students are still eligible to register as seniors. Students also find themselves concerned with their ranking. How does a student evaluate his or her athletic ability and standing among the numerous other qualified athletes competing for the spot? Coach Lamb suggested students sit down and seriously discuss their future with their coaches. She advised students to ask where they stand as players on the team and what skills they need to improve in order to progress as a potential collegiate player. Coach O’Leary added to Lamb’s point by advising students to be realistic. Don’t settle, but set goals within reach. Otherwise, athletes may find they are limiting themselves to fewer options. The coaches concluded by saying that the majority of college athletes have a great experience, whether it be at the Division I or the Division III level. Of course, both come with their advantages and disadvantages, but the opportunity to play a sport at the collegiate level is a rare and exceptional one. Coach Lamb and Coach O’Leary were helpful in addressing not only the topics covered above, but many of the other issues student-athletes have today. Attendance at this discussion in the future is highly recommended for interested athletes at Andover. The event provided an incredibly convenient way of obtaining the information needed to get a jump-start on the college process. As Uppers begin the college application process, athletics play a key role for many Andover students. These studnents hope to take their sport to the next level.