I am Kelvin Lam. I played college tennis at Harvard University and graduated with a degree in Economics in 2016.
When I was young, I was just like every other kid out there. Growing up in Hong Kong, I went to a local primary school and participated in myriad extra-curricular activities, curated by my parents : swimming, table-tennis, soccer, calligraphy, piano.. you name it I wasn’t particularly outstanding at any of these activities; and certainly wasn’t all that interested in them too.
When I was around 9 years-old, the city was hard hit by SARS and all schools were closed down for almost a month. With all the free time in the world, I started following my dad to hit some tennis balls at the tennis court right next to where I lived. Since then, the rest is history…
I started devoting more and more time to tennis. I was top-ranked in Hong Kong in each of the age groups as my career progressed; from being just a local player to spending 15-20 weeks a year abroad competing on the junior circuit.
Back in the classroom, spending time away from school definitely puts me at a disadvantage but it never stopped me from staying on top of my schoolwork. While I wasn’t the top performer in my class, juggling such a tough schedule definitely taught me the importance of self-discipline and time management.
By Grade 11, I decided I wanted to continue playing tennis at a high level while pursuing an education. The only place that would allow me to get the best of both worlds was the United States. The United States is home to some of the most prestigious colleges in the world. Its college sports system is also second to none.
With my own research and the help from my mentors, I realized getting admitted to some of the world’s most prestigious colleges wasn’t actually as far-fetched as I originally thought. Playing a sport goes a long way in the application process as schools tend to be more lenient with academic results if one shows promising results and character in sports. With my academic results, I could never dream of going to a top university if I hadn’t played a sport.
After months of preparation and liaising with coaches from a number of Ivy League schools and top D1 scholarship schools, I decided to commit to Harvard University, one of the World’s most well known universities in the world.
Fast forward to four years later, in the summer of 2016, I graduated from Harvard not only with a degree in Economics, but also lifelong memories of the good times during my four years as a student athlete.
In this series of blog posts, I hope to share more of my experience as a junior tennis player navigating the college recruiting process and my time as a student athlete at Harvard.
With proper planning and hard work, I am confident you can follow my footsteps to attend the best universities in the United States too!