Highly ranked squash player lands at Brown, after all

November 14, 2018 — by Ava Hooman

In early November, senior Esha Lakhotia, who is ranked as the 11th in the US Girls’ under 17 squash player, received a likely admission email from the dean of admissions at Brown University letting her know that she had a guaranteed spot at the school.

Lakhotia has been playing squash competitively for the last seven years. She began playing at Bay Club Santa Clara with her older sister Aarushi Lakhotia, a 2017 SHS graduate who is now attending George Washington University and playing squash there.

Lakhotia has been practicing at clubs around the Bay Area six times a week and has participated in competitions every month since fifth grade. A year and a half into playing the sport, Lakhotia began participating in regional competitions and within a few years, advanced to national tournaments.

With her success in squash, Lakhotia realized she was interested in continuing to play the sport in college.

“I didn’t start playing squash for college, but after watching my teammates and sister receive offers from great schools, I decided I should also pursue that especially because I had always planned to play squash for as long as I could,” Lakhotia said.

At the beginning of her junior year, with the help of her coach, Lakhotia contacted schools like Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Tufts. She primarily sent out short emails, with the intent of “getting her name out there” so schools could watch her at future competitions.

During nationals that took place on Mar. 2018 at Harvard, she met with Ivy League coaches. With help from her own coach, she contacted those schools more by sending her squash resume, which is posted on the US Squash website, along with an academic transcript and test scores.

“I began to realize that this was all coming together and I worked really hard to maintain contact with all the coaches in order for them to keep their interest in me,” Lakhotia said.

To get a feel for the campus and squash teams, Lakhotia scheduled overnight camps at four schools during spring break. At each school, she played squash with current team members and asked them about her likeliness to be recruited.

Lakhotia signed up for squash summer camps at Brown and Cornell in order to get a feel for the atmosphere. Though both colleges had completely different positive aspects, she thoroughly enjoyed both for different reasons.

“I really liked the Open Curriculum that Brown offered since I am interested in many different subjects and I want to be able to explore more ideas. At the same time, I really enjoyed the Cornell atmosphere and the science program,” Lakhotia said.

In a twist of events, Lakhotia received spots from both the Cornell and Brown coaches after the camps. After both camps, Lakhotia was still indecisive about which school she wanted to attend. She spent hours researching about both schools, talking it over with her parents, and making a pro con list.

“Both schools are so amazing and I wish I could go to both but I had to make a really hard decision that would determine the rest of my future” said Lakhotia.

Lakhotia finally decided to commit to Brown and knows it will be a great school for her to succeed with both her squash and academics.

After committing to Brown, Lakhotia applied binding early decision to the school in late September. She had already given them her academic history and test scores, leaving no surprises for the admission officers. She had planned to apply only to one school as long as she received her likely letter by November, letting her know that if she maintains her current track record she will be admitted into the school, which she did.

“I am extremely fortunate to have been offered a spot at the school, and it’s a great feeling to finally see all of my hard work paying off,” Lakhotia said.