ThanksFor my dd, there’s a few things at play.
She is likely to be lucky enough to have a choice. She’s talking to Ivies, liberal arts colleges, navy (!) and a few others.
Firstly is her sporting goals. She intends to continue competing elite, aiming at international level. The choice of programmes offering that level, who will allow her to continue representing her country (we are not US), becomes much smaller.
Secondly is academics. While an Ivy is obviously very prestigious, she is worried that balancing such a high standard of academics and sport may be too much. She’d rather take a more relaxed academic programme so she can get a good education and reach her sporting goals, rather than try and spread herself too thinly and not manage to do her best in either.
Thirdly so far a lot of choosing a college on a sporting scholarship depends on things like do you click with the coach, do they offer the courses you want to do, do you want to live in x place for 4 years, is it a campus, what is the accommodation like etc.
Dd did really click with one of the Ivy coaches and was all set to visit this year. A change of head coach and she wasn’t getting the same vibe, and didn’t feel their goals aligned in the same way. They still want her, but she doesn't think the new coach will work for her.
It isn’t quite as straightforward as finding the best, it’s the “best fit” for each athlete.