There is no easy answer for picking the right school for you; especially if you are looking to play field hockey. The first decision you need to make is what division do you want to play? For me, that was a fairly easy decision because I knew that I did not want to play division I field hockey. I wanted to be able to enjoy other activities in college like joining a club or maybe traveling abroad. I did not think it was possible to do that at a DI level. As I understood it, at that level field hockey was basically your job. I also did not want the pressure that came at playing at such a competitive level. Of course I could have picked a lower level DI school, but I did not feel like that is where I belonged.
In contrast, I found out in my senior year that DIII probably was not for me either. For the longest time, I was set on going to Susquehanna University. I had been around the campus all my life because that is where my mother had gone. However, when I went on my overnight visit, I did not get a sense of belonging. To my dismay, the school was not what I was looking for. I widened my search to other schools, but every school I had looked at was not quite at the challenging level that I wanted. From my perception, these schools were slightly beneath my level of skill. I knew I would be frustrated with the girls on these teams because they did not know the game as well as I did. They were not going to be able to push me to reach my potential as a player. That is when I knew I did not belong at the DIII level. The girls were nice and some were talented, but it did not quite feel right to me.
By default, that meant that I was now looking for a DII school. I was able to narrow my search because I knew that I wanted to go to a school that had fewer people, was not a state school, and was still in Pennsylvania. That basically left me with one school choice which was Mercyhurst University. My club field hockey coach encouraged me to look into the school. He might have been partially biased because as it turned out, one of his daughters was the head coach of the field hockey team. When I came for a visit, I instantly liked the school, but when I met the team, I instantly knew this was the school for me. They immediately felt like family. They genuinely cared about me, plus they were all very skilled players and I knew I would be able to reach my potential as a player. Four years later, I am still happy I decided to come to Mercyhurst University.