What It's Like To Transfer Halfway Through College
Adriana Sanchez, a former pitcher for Bethune-Cookman, had her career cut short by COVID-19. The statistics major now has her eyes set on graduate school and dreams of a career in sports analytics.
Sanchez spoke with Softball America about her recruiting process, transferring and living her dream of playing Division 1 softball.
Softball America: What was the recruiting process like for you?
Adriana Sanchez: It was very much a roller coaster. I started trying to find a school when I was in 8th grade, and the process continued until I was a junior in high school. I tried to go to as many camps as possible and emailed coaches before attending the camps. I also made a recruiting video, which I highly recommend for young athletes. I committed to Bryant University in Rhode Island. I knew from a young age that I wanted to get out of Ohio. I wanted to experience another state and new surroundings.
SA: What was most surprising as a freshman?
AS: I was always used to practicing and working out because of the way I was preparing for college ball, but college was way more intense than I thought it would be. You have to manage your time so wisely. On a typical day, I would wake up at 5:30 in the morning. We had weights from 6 to 7 a.m. Then at 7 a.m., we had conditioning before running to class at 8 a.m. After classes all day, we would have practice for three or four hours before dinner. Then, as a freshman or transfer, we had eight hours of study hall each week. After study hall, it was back to the dorm to recharge and do it all again the next day.
SA: How did the level of competition in college compare to your experience in high school or travel ball?
AS: The level of competition in high school does not compare to college ball. I played on quite a few travel teams and subbed for some top teams in California and Arizona. I definitely felt prepared to take on college competition after the exposure to top athletes in travel ball. I knew that when I got to college, it would be just like playing them.
SA: What was the process like when you decided to transfer?
AS: My coach at Bryant started recruiting me when I was in 8th grade, so when I got to the school my freshman year, I had known the coach for five years. After a coaching change, I decided to transfer. I knew that I wanted to go somewhere warm after two years in Rhode Island, so I started searching for schools in Florida. I made another recruiting video, sent more emails and entered the transfer portal.
Finally, one week before classes started, I got a call that Bethune-Cookman was interested in me. I hadn’t even visited the campus yet, but I knew it was the place for me. I loved it down there. My first school was a predominantly white institution; there wasn’t much diversity there. Then, I transferred to an HBCU. It was super different and much more diverse, which I loved.
SA: What is the difference between coming in as a freshman and coming in as a transfer?
AS: When you’re a freshman, you’re kind of clueless. You have to rely a lot on the upperclassmen to show you the way and figure out what the coach expects from you. When you’re a transfer, you kind of know how it goes. Similar to the freshman experience, you have to earn your spot on the team. When I joined my new team as a transfer, I had to do that all over again. I had to prove myself and show that I was all in.
SA: What advice do you have for softball players who want to play ball in college?
AS: My advice is to work hard every day because there is always someone else putting in the work and getting better. Be in the gym and work on your academics. Don’t give up, even if someone tells you you can’t do it, especially with recruiting. It it’s meant to be, it will be. The right coach will see you at the right time, and you will end up where you’re supposed to go.