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Success Story: In Conversation with Sofia Corte Real, Successful Tennis Recruit to Top D-III College in the US

When we started our engagement with Sofia Corte-Real, she had recently relocated to Hong Kong having played tennis all her life in Europe. Sofia’s parents had many questions about her chances of getting recruited to a good college in the U.S. After assessing Sofia’s profile, we laid out a plan that would help get her to the top schools of choice, leveraging her extraordinary sporting talent. That was exactly two-and-half years ago.
Cut to December 2023
After a roller-coaster journey across the intervening 30 months, Sofia made a final decision to apply Early Decision to Wellesley, a top Liberal Arts college in New England in October 2023. Despite all the setbacks, Sofia had achieved the unthinkable! And we are delighted to have helped her make her dreams-come- true!
We recently caught up with Sofia & her father Miguel who shared their experience of the recruitment process with AddedEducation.

1. Congratulations on getting into Wellesley College! How do you feel about it?

Sofia : I am really excited to be continuing my education and tennis journey at Wellesley! After a long journey, I am glad that I finally landed at a school that has all of the things I wanted – a great academic program and also a great vibe from the tennis team.
Miguel: I was happy that Sofia got into a great college, Wellesley. I think it will be a school that she will thrive in, both academically and also in tennis. After learning more about the college, as a parent, it is a place where I can see my daughter grow and blossom and have a great college experience.

2. Your journey is really special having received other recruitment interests/offers or potential coach support from several different schools. How did you eventually decide that Wellesley College is the one for you, hence applying ED1 there?

Sofia : I think Wellesley checks all the boxes for me. Besides being a top 5 Liberal Arts Program in the US, I got to know more about the school from the college coach. I felt that I had built a good relationship with the coach and was comfortable with the college and team setting through my conversations. The insights that I had gotten from the coach was invaluable, and that is what I feel helped me make the decision to take the offer and apply ED1 to Wellesley.
Miguel: As a parent, I was also involved in the decision making process. Seeing Sofia’s interactions with the coach and getting to know more about Wellesley through my own research and insights from AddedEducation, I was happy to decide Wellesley as an ED1 option for Sofia. I always wanted to have Sofia go to a school with good academic credibility and Wellesley checks that box with being a top 5 Liberal Arts program in the US. I am sure that she’ll have a great college experience there.

3. What do you think were the most important and crucial steps in the recruitment process? What is your advice for other student-athletes to be able to navigate it successfully?

Sofia : I think the most important thing is to be consistent. Getting exposure in tennis and continuing to improve is a must, but being consistent in working hard, communicating with the coaches, as well as managing your time between studies and tennis are top most important. I realize that being consistent helped me a lot in the recruitment process.
Miguel: For me, the toughest part is to decipher the different steps in the recruitment process. We needed to know the importance and next steps in each stage of the recruitment and that is where having a counselor like AddedEducation was useful. We get to know about how to do coach communication in the best way possible, what we need to do when we meet the coaches in person, what is the timeline of recruitment, up until what things to consider when making a decision before committing. My advice for parents is that not only should you get an expert to help you navigate it, but also take the time to understand the process and each stage of it.

4. For those that are still figuring out which school they should target or commit to or choose, what would be your advice in choosing and selecting their best-fit school? Especially for student-athletes, who need to consider both the academic and athletic components.

Sofia : My advice is to make sure that the school can help you achieve your goals. In order to do that, you might need to have more conversations with coaches, with your counselor, with other students and even do your own independent research. So if you are on your way to make a decision, first make sure that you know goals you want to achieve in your college experience and get information that will make you comfortable to make the decision.
Miguel: My suggestion is to understand what your child wants to get out of their college experience and help them through the research process. Speak with your child and compare how the different colleges can actually be the best place for them to grow.

5. Other than the above, what do you think was the toughest part of the recruitment / application process or in this journey? If you could have a redo in the whole process, how would you have done things differently?

Sofia : I think the toughest part of the recruitment is being consistent in coach communication. In the beginning, the responses from coaches might not be favorable. But apparently that was normal, and I had been told by the counselors at AddedEducation to stay consistent in updating them. It was challenging for me, because I had to focus on my studies and tennis, and also do coach communication. So if I were to do things differently, I would set aside time to do coach communication and be consistent from the start – I now know the importance of it.
Miguel: I think the toughest part is the journey itself. We’ve had ups and downs, which is normal, but the results of it also pays off. As parents, we want the best for our child and I am glad that we had a good outcome. Going through the process and navigating through it is hard, but having a great team from AddedEducation made the process less stressful for us. them to grow.

6. How did AddedEducation support you throughout the whole process?

Sofia : I think having my counselor at AddedEducation had helped me navigate through the whole process. They gave me advice and insights on how to go through all of the steps required in the recruitment process. Starting from choosing tournaments that I should play in, goals that I should have and achieve, how to start and maintain coach communication, information about the different college options based on my priority, all the way until the final submission of my application. I think having someone guide me through the whole process and do it together with me has given me an advantage in my college recruitment process.
Miguel: I was lucky to have AddedEducation around in the process. They had understood the recruitment process from start to finish. Their existing relationships with the college coaches also helped to open up doors for Sofia and their advice in how to maintain coach interests eventually helped Sofia to have different options and opportunities rather than just one. I think their commitment to the clients and the process is invaluable, and I am grateful that we had them on our side throughout our journey for Sofia.

7. What are the most valuable lessons you’ve gained from this journey?

Sofia : I had learned to stay consistent, manage my time and also be independent. I had realized that choosing a college is an important decision for my future. While I have my support system behind me, I was able to learn that ultimately this decision is for me and the result of it is also because of my hard work.
Miguel: Going through this journey with Sofia was great – I got to understand her thought process and be a part of this experience for her, which is always exciting for a parent. I wish her all the best in her college journey and I am excited to see her in college!

8. Any last advice or tips that you’d like to share more with the younger students or student-athletes that are applying later this year or next year?

Sofia : My advice is to know what you want to achieve out of the process. If you work hard and be consistent, results will come. Make sure you do your own research, be proactive in your coach communication, and start understanding the different college options. Also for fellow student-athletes, make sure you enjoy the process! It’s a grind, but it’s the best part!
Miguel: My advice for other parents is to continue to support your child in the process and be there for them. Understand what their needs are and help them navigate through the process to find the best college for them. Having an expert like AddedEducation also helps you as a parent in supporting your child through this process. This is a tedious process, but it will all be worth it in the end! am excited to see her in college!