College Recruiting During COVID-19


John Thaler

SHS junior Jessica Hausman pitching at Supply Field in May of 2019.

Lydia Jin

COVID-19 has undeniably affected the lives of every member of the SHS community. For exceptional junior athletes who have their hearts set on getting recruited into colleges, it has been no different. Throughout the year, our athletes have had to adapt to many bumps along their road to college recruiting.  Jessica Hausman ’22 and Sedna Gandhi ’22, shared with us the many challenges they have faced while giving prospective college athletes some handy advice.

The coronavirus has forced student-athletes to adjust to a new normal. Many prospective college softball players like Jessica Hausman, who began playing softball at the ripe age of 6, was eager to showcase her skills to scouts at games or camps. Instead of in-person meetings with college coaches, players and recruiters are meeting students via Zoom or chatting to them over the phone. “Games have changed too. We aren’t allowed [to be in] the dugouts or to take off our masks until we are in the field,” explained Hausman. Coaches have a hard time recognizing the best athletes over the video, and students who are not able to visit campuses will struggle to commit to a school they have never seen. “[The current situation] is extremely frustrating, but it’s simply the world we live in right now.”

SHS junior Sedna Gandhi fencing at the North American Cup in December 2019. (Chirag Gandhi)

Sedna Gandhi, a national gold medal-winning fencer. Gandhi has only been fencing for six years, but she has already snatched some impressive awards. She competes for Team USA all over the world, including in Grenoble, France, where she won Bronze in the Cadet World Cup. Typically, recruitment would begin the summer before junior year, but COVID has delayed the process. As with Hausman, Gandhi has been unable to visit college campuses, and all meetings with coaches have been virtual. What is upsetting is that some colleges are cutting their fencing programs, and many others are undecided about how many fencers they will take since there are no national or international competitions happening at the moment. “Although I am anxious because this is a process where it is unclear how things will play out, I am optimistic that I will find a program where I will fit in and be happy,” said Gandhi.

Many other students at Scarsdale High School are also aspiring college athletes and can relate to Hausman and Gandhi’s experiences. “Technology is truly a great asset to utilize during this time,” Hausman explained. As for advice for other athletes in similar positions, Gandhi also offers some helpful tips. “People should stay confident about the whole process. Everybody is in the same situation, and we just have to adapt and make the best of it,” Gandhi concluded.