Early College Commits Reduce List of Worries Amid Pandemic

Holly Williams, Staff Writer

College: one word that for many senior athletes induces one’s fight or flight instinct, but for those seniors who have committed early, this word no longer carries as much anxiety. 

Many seniors make their college commitments during the spring semester of their senior year, but there are a few who have already made their decision.

Senior Riley Burns signed with Central Methodist University on her first day of school.

“The golf coach at the school mentioned on our phone call that he was interested in giving me an offer to play golf,” Burns said. “… I got an email with my official scholarship and accepted it that day! Then a little over a week ago I officially signed my letter of intent to continue my athletic and academic career at Central Methodist University.”

Not only is golf in her future, but she will also be pursuing a degree in elementary education. According to Burns, this major has been on her mind since kindergarten. 

Deciding on a major is just one step in the process, and choosing where to pursue that major can be overwhelming for many, but for Burns the decision was made easier with COVID-19.

“I was actually a little nervous coming into this school year because I always knew what I wanted to go into, but I never knew where I wanted to go,” Burns said. “Being on quarantine gave me a lot of time to look further into schools.” 

Her extra time spent researching meant that when she visited her college, it was easy for her to make a choice. 

“There were a few schools I was looking at, but after my visit to CMU, I knew that’s where I needed to be,” Burns said. 

Many seniors experience the same feeling, but Alexa Harris, who committed to the Air Force Academy to continue her volleyball career, is unable to visit her college. 

“I plan to visit in September, but right now it is in the NCAA division 1 dead period, which means you cannot take athletic visits,’ Harris said. “It kind of sucks not being able to visit because it kind of puts your recruiting process on hold.”

According to the NCAA website, the dead period, which includes no face-to-face visits, began in April and was extended in both May and June to finally end in August.

The dead zone did not change Harris’s college decision.

“I chose the Air Force Academy because they provide you with endless opportunities, the volleyball coaches are great, everyone is super nice, and the campus is beautiful,” Harris said.

Amid all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Harris is glad to have found her college. 

“It definitely feels like a relief that I have finally found a college that is right for me,” Harris said. “I’m glad I can just focus on one school and not have to stress about having phone calls and building relationships with all of these different coaches.”

Senior Brynn Miracle, who committed to Drake University in March, shares the same opinion.

“It’s honestly such a relief to know where I’m going to school so early on and not have to worry about it anymore,” Miracle said. 

According to Miracle, she intends to pursue a business degree with an emphasis on accounting while playing Division 1 soccer.

Unlike when Harris was deciding, Drake scouts were able to see Miracle play, and she was able to visit her college without the restriction of the NCAA dead zone. According to Miracle, after the assistant coach emailed her, she attended a soccer camp where she was able to solidify her decision.

“I had a few other schools that I was considering, but after my visit I knew that Drake was the perfect fit and that I didn’t need to pursue them any further,” Miracle said.

Committing to college is a single step in the process of obtaining a higher education, but Miracle is glad to take it. 

“I’m super excited to start the next chapter in my life and meet new people,” Miracle said.