University of Washington

Seattle, WA: Although I’m still young to be thinking about college, I’ve had my eye on the University of Washington – Seattle for a while now. Since I am a competitive gymnast, my college search began at the end of eighth grade, in hopes of earning a scholarship. Gymnastics is a sport that recruits athletes as young as 13, so as a result, I started visiting schools much earlier than most. Seattle is 3,000 miles from New Jersey – a long way from home – and my parents originally laughed at the prospect of me going to school so far away. I eventually convinced them to take me for a visit on one condition: if I did end up enrolling there, I would move back to the East Coast after I graduated.

After a flight of six hours, we arrived in Seattle and began to explore. I am a huge fan of “Grey’s Anatomy,” which is set in Seattle, so it has always been my dream to visit the city. We took the elevator up the Space Needle and saw a unique view of a city framed by snow-capped mountains and crystal clear water.

Then we visited the University of Washington campus, home of the purple and gold Huskies. We were dropped off in front of Husky Stadium, overlooking Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains. The stadium has a beautiful lake behind it where people tailgate before football games. I already started to imagine myself as a future Husky.

Ranked 14th globally by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Washington is a public institution. Undergraduate enrollment at the Seattle campus is approximately 30,000. After my visit, I completely understand why the school is so appealing. Not only does it have incredible Division 1 sports, the University of Washington’s academics are very prestigious.

Academics are a significant part of college, but the culture of the gymnastics program is equally as important to me, as I would be spending 20 hours per week with the team and coaches. After just one day with the coaches, I felt very comfortable around them. It was easy to imagine myself trusting them because of their warm personalities, love for the sport, and honesty.

I found a strong balance at UW. It is clear that students take both academics and athletics very seriously – exactly what I was looking for. All of the facilities are state of the art, and the dorms are super clean and brand-new. It has the feel of a campus school, but the amazing city of Seattle is nearby as well. I completely fell in love with the school; even hearing about the rainy weather in Seattle couldn’t make me love it less.

I left the University of Washington with nothing negative to report, except maybe the distance from home. My parents and I figured it would be a good experience for me to live out West for a few years and escape the hustle of living near New York City.

Just a few weeks later, my dream of participating in Division 1 athletics came closer to reality when I received and accepted a verbal commitment to the University of Washington. College is still a few years away, but I can’t wait to be a part of such an amazing place. All the positives make up for the distance I will have to travel, and I couldn’t be any happier to be able to say that I am going to be a Husky gymnast in 2017.

Find out more on their website: www.washington.edu.