Post Date: Friday, December 22, 2017
StFYC’s first-ever College Sailing Insight session featured 11 of our High School Sailing alumni home from college, sitting on a panel and telling our high schoolers what it’s like at the next level. On Thursday night, the Golden Gate Room was alive.
Parents were invited too, because parents of college-bound kids have questions. The highlights reel went something like this, with quotes no doubt mangled but true to intent:
What advantage do you have as a sailor, coming from San Francisco Bay?
Nolan Van Dine, Cal Maritime: “When it’s windy, we crush.”
Can you sail in college, with all the time that it takes, and still get your academics right?
Sammy Shea, Tufts: “Our team runs four practices a week, but most people make three, and our coach is fine with that. He says you can do two things well in college. That can be academics and sailing. If not sailing, something else, but you’re there for the academics.”
Ryder Easterlin, Northwestern: “It adds stress, but it’s worth it.”
Sarah Paulsen, Cal: “We have a club program, not varsity. It makes for a balance because we can sail as much as we want and study when the time is right.”
Claire Mohun, Georgetown: “Being on our sail team takes up about 16 hours a week. We’re expected to make a minimum of two practices every week, but on any given weekend only half the team would be traveling to a regatta.”
Michael Tellini, Dartmouth: “The time commitment is huge, but it’s doable. I didn’t think I was going to sail in college, but then there are the relationships you build, and they’re real. People in college have plenty of free time. We fill that time. Those who don’t, probably belong somewhere else.”
[It was also roundly acknowledged that a new college sailor is quickly absorbed into the “tribe” and is unlikely to become a lost freshman. Or senior, for that matter. Or a lost graduate.]
What can sailing do to help me get accepted by the school of my choice?
Brent Harrill, Sailing Director, StFYC: “There are no scholarships allowed in college sailing, and only a few schools reserve spots for recruited sailors. In the whole country there are maybe 15 slots for recruits. For everyone else, how much influence the coaches have on admissions varies from school to school.”
Claire Mohun, Georgetown: “Our school has four spots for recruits in every freshman class, but they have to meet an academic threshold to qualify. [Even if it’s lower than the school’s general-population threshold.] When you’re applying as a regular student, our coach doesn’t need to hear why you want to be on the sailing team. He needs to hear why you want to go to Georgetown, not some other school.”
Will Paulsen, USC: “Our coach will tell you straight out that he has no pull with admissions.”
Brent Harrill: “But there are schools with sailing programs that have pull.”
Emily Verdoia, U. of Texas: “If you are writing to coaches, include your GPA.” [That’s one aspect of how coaches know if you’re a fit for the school, thus for the team.]
Should you reach out to the coaches, as early as your junior year but especially in August ahead of your senior year?
Should you supply a lengthy sailing resume?
All: NO. Highlights only. And what is a goal that you set for yourself, and accomplished?
What was your biggest surprise in college sailing?
Sally Mace, Stanford: “It’s not like other sailing. The races run six or eight minutes, so it’s hot. You’re rounding the weather mark with the entire fleet.” [You’ll learn to make lightning-quick decisions.]
What if I’m not good enough?
Michael Tellini, Dartmouth: “No matter where you are now, you can get to where you want to be if you’re willing to work for it. College sailing will make you a great sailor, if you step up.”
Reported by, and taking full responsibility for mangled quotes,
Kimball Livingston, Staff Commodore