Sara Hurwitch, at home with her parents, Jon and Susan, visited several schools before picking Central Florida.
HOMETOWN: Potomac Falls, Va.
USGA HANDICAP INDEX: +1.0
GOLF BIO: Began playing at age 7. In 2003, won the Virginia State Golf Association Junior Girls' Championship. Co-captain of the Dominion High boys team. Qualified three times for the U.S. Girls' Junior.
COLLEGES SHE PURSUED: Tulane, Vanderbilt, UNC-Wilmington, Tulsa, Central Florida and more.
WHERE SHE'S GOING: University of Central Florida
MY ADVICE TO YOU
IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY: I began researching schools online and visiting campuses during my freshman year, before coaches could send letters.
YOU'VE GOT MAIL: The first day coaches were allowed to contact me, in September of my junior year, my mom ran up to my room and showed me that one coach had sent me an e-mail at midnight. It was neat, exciting to get all of the mail: OK, I'm in this process now. Prior to that, you have to initiate calls with coaches.
MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT: The process is an emotional roller-coaster ride, especially when you start early. Sometimes I was hesitant to press coaches to tell me where I was on their list, because I didn't know if they were No. 1 on my list.
STUDENT FOR A DAY: Sitting in on a few college classes will help give you a feel for the environment.
BEST QUESTION TO ASK COACHES: "Where do I stand on your list as far as scholarships?" If they can't offer what you want, you'll know to pursue other schools.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND: Initially, I was drawn to smaller, private schools; UCF has 39,000 undergraduates.
THE CLINCHER: Coach Emilee Klein. She won three times on the LPGA Tour, and she's already become a huge mentor for me.
IF I HAD IT TO DO OVER AGAIN: Be ready to tell a coach this is where you want to be before others start committing.
WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
By Sara's mom, Susan
1: You'll learn that a big part of the college-selection process is out of your control, but in the end everything falls into place and your child ends up where she should be.
2: We went with Sara on official and unofficial campus visits, but we made sure she always spent time alone with the team and the coach.
3: Some NCAA regulations seemed bizarre, such as not being able to talk to coaches when you see them at a tournament. In a sense, scholarships are a business deal, as much as I don't like to think that as a mom. Where else in business are you not allowed to talk to the other person?
4: We always talk things over as a family, but, ultimately, Sara had to decide where she wanted to be for the next four years.
5: Everyone talks about scholarship opportunities, but golf is an expensive sport, and you spend the scholarship on the front end. A parent shouldn't trade the travel and experience with a son or daughter for anything.