Let me start by saying that I have read all of Sherpa's excellent posts about college fencing and they are both helpful and incredibly generous. I sent Sherpa a private message and he thought the discussion might be helpful to other fencing parents so he asked me to post here. I am grateful for any advice that anyone has for us. Apologies for the length of the post.
I have a couple of questions about optimizing my daughter's chances of picking the right school to focus on.
She is a Junior at a highly selective (#1 in state, top 40 overall and top 20 in math/science in nation according to several respected sources) public school. All of their classes are either honors or AP. Unfortunately, her school has never produced a "recruited" athlete and the guidance counselor and head of the athletic department are no help. Additionally, her club is very small and has no history of guiding anyone through the process.
Academics: GPA 4.0 (with 1 AP last year and 3 this year). Weighted GPA 4.9; No class rank available but top 10% out of 300. PSAT 218; Practice SAT scores between 2100-2200. She is taking the SAT in March and will be tutored before then. 5 on the AP US History test. Planning on 5-6 APs next year.
Fencing: A2011, on the Div 1 (top 30), Junior (top 16) and Cadet NRPL, has international points from several cadet designated events and a Junior World Cup. Hasn't won a NAC in a couple of years, but she has been in the top 8 (including some top 3 finishes) at several.
She wants to attend a very academically challenging school.
Can you tell me if we are doing this right:
1. She has e-mailed all of the coaches and sent a resume with fencing and academic achievements.
2. We look at the existing rosters and the incoming classes to see if there will be a need for any fencers in her weapon/gender.
3. We look at points lists for her weapon and gender to get a sense of the competition -- we do have a sense of whether most of the top girls in her weapon are looking Ivy or elsewhere. We have to consider international recruits as well, but I don't think there is much of a way to predict this factor unless those fencers fence regularly in the U.S.
And this is where I get confused
4. We look at the points lists for all of the weapons and genders to see what the competition is like for the few recruiting spots the fencing coaches have -- is this right or am I over complicating things? For example, if Brown has 4 recruiting slots, that means she has to be one of the top four desired fencers applying to Brown across all weapons and genders -- is that right?
5. Team experience -- how important is team fencing experience? It's always a hard decision about whether to add a team event when it is in the middle of two individual events, but if team experience is really important, then we will prioritize it more going forward.
Finally, is there a way to know how many recruiting spots a coach has?
I know that any of the coaches would welcome her if she got in on her own, but given that fencing is her only real EC (she has 4 others, but nothing remarkable given the ECs of most of the applicant pool) and her good but not stellar potential test scores, it seems to us like getting into an Ivy on her own is not very likely. Would you agree with that?
Are we doing everything right? Any advice would be appreciated. I am trying to remain really calm because she is so wound up over the whole situation.
Happy New Year and thank you very much for any insight you can provide!