Serving his way into college: Max O’Malley’s tennis recruitment process

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Max O’Malley (‘20) at an international tennis competition in Turkey. [Photo courtesy of Max O’Malley]

Max O’Malley (‘20) describes his younger self as a “terrible child” who “never wanted to do anything.” As a result of his behavior, his parents encouraged him to participate in all kinds of sports–which led to soccer, competitive skiing, and eventually, tennis. Now, tennis is his passion and he trains everyday. 
However, for Max, tennis is more than just fun: it’s a way into college. By the end of his sophomore year, he had already reached out to many coaches in the US. He has participated in “college showcase” tournaments, where over 50+ college coaches scout potential recruits. 
Nevertheless, Max still believes in academics first.  “My goal has always been to play tennis at an academically strong school. I’m pretty focused on some of the East Coast Division III schools.  They tend to be stronger academically than many of the Division I schools, and these days top Division III schools are athletically stronger than, say, the mid-tier Division I schools,” he said. Today, many high level athletes turn to Division III for a better balance of life. 
Ultimately, besides releasing stress, the goal with tennis was always for him to increase his options for college. Tennis athletes in particular face the worst odds in terms of earning a stable living: aside from the top stars, anyone ranked below 100 will find it difficult to earn profit. “The others can only hope to break even after paying their coaching staff, travel expenses,” Max said.