SPUSA 20 years

Athlete Profile: Jonathan Condon

Athlete Profile: Jonathan Condon

Jonathan Condon

Uni: UPenn
Start Date: August 2018
Sport: Rowing

What are you most looking forward to about going to College?

I’m most looking forward to embracing the American culture and lifestyle. One of the most important things to me with studying abroad, is to live in not only a different part of the world – but a different culture and meeting people who have grown up in a different lifestyle to me.

You had the chance to visit some Colleges before you decided to enrol; can you tell us a little bit about your trip and your initial impressions about the school and rowing program?

My trip to the different colleges was amazing. Fortunately, enough, all the schools I was visiting were all in driving distance of each other, so my Dad and I went on a huge road trip.

Each school had its own different edge with variations in both the general feel of the school and the rowing program itself. For example, Yale had a majority of century old buildings, whereas Boston had a very modern and new look. With the rowing programs, UPenn had its main boatshed surrounded by other clubs with a lively feel to it, while most other schools had isolated boat sheds.

Based on your experiences so far, what is most exciting about the athletic structure at UPenn?

The most exciting thing to me about the athletic structure and goals at UPenn’s rowing program is its will to build and regain its legacy as one of the most successful rowing colleges in the USA. This reminds me of my high school’s goals and I am very privileged to be embarking on this journey with the shed. I also love the coaching staff at UPenn with not only fantastic knowledge and understanding of the sport but leadership and genuine care for their athletes.

Why did you choose this pathway over staying in Australia?

I chose this pathway as opposed to staying in Australia to escape Brisbane and experience another part of the world. I am very lucky to have both my parents support my endeavours, I wanted to seize this chance with both hands. Although I will miss home and all my friends and family dearly, the idea of studying and competing on the opposite side of the world is too exciting to turn down.

How have you found the process of talking to coaches?

I found the process of talking to coaches extremely nerve-racking. Funnily enough, my first call was with a coach from UPenn. To Skype someone you’ve never met on the other side of the world is quite a different experience, but to all aspiring student-athletes, you must understand that these coaches are very experienced with talking to recruits and to go in all guns blazing! Nervousness and shying away will hide your true personality to the people who you’ll be with for the next four years.

What is your intended area of study?

My intended area of study is business. My current goal for my freshman year is to eventually transfer into the Wharton School of Business at UPenn which I am yet to decide my major.

What part of the process do you think has required the most guidance?

It would definitely be contacting and speaking to coaches! The team at Study and Play USA were amazing with helping me talk to the schools I wanted to attend and give me the opportunity to visit them. They ensured I was not overlooked by coaches and put me on the front foot to engage with the coaches.

What advice do you have for other student-athletes who are considering this pathway?

My advice is to stay open-minded! I had never fully decided what school I wanted to go to, so instead I kept an open mind and took in as much information in as I could about all the schools I visited before choosing. I looked at all aspects from the academic side to the sporting program. I believe this helped me decide to go to UPenn, which I think definitely suited me the best!

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An Aussie's Transformative
US College Journey

By Study & Play Director, Chris Bates