Freshman of the Year at Vanderbilt University

Tennis player Jackie Wu sets a high standard for those who choose to follow in her size 8 ½ footsteps

photo: Jackie Wu playing tennis
Photo Credit:
John Russell
Vanderbilt Athletic Communications

Jackie started off her season 8-0 in singles and has an overall record of 25-9 through the end of April. She is also ranked 57th in the nation and is part of a 49th-ranked tandem.

She chose Vanderbilt because of the team, the coaches, academics, and the atmosphere at the school. She’s been able to excel through hard work, long hours, an intense training and traveling schedule, a love for the game, and loads of experience during her junior and senior years of high school.

“Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t know what to expect, so it was weird for me to see what level of competition I would be getting,” she says of coming to Vanderbilt. “But playing as many tournaments as I did as a junior really helped me as far as match play and match experience.”

Although keeping up with her studies was important, more of value was a school that could keep up with her. A friend suggested MU High School.

“It made my life a lot easier,” Wu says of MUHS. “I could go at my own pace and in my own time. Because I train in Florida, I would have missed a lot of school my junior and senior years without it.”

Pragmatic and determined, Wu acknowledges she may have missed some “normal stuff” such as prom, but that she’s happy with her choice of using an online high school to complete the bulk of her credits.

“You have to sacrifice quite a bit,” she says, “and I was more than happy not to go to those things in order to excel. MU made it easy for me to travel and do extracurricular stuff – things I couldn’t do going to a regular school. Financially and academically, I felt it was my best choice.”

By taking 12 courses online, Wu was able to pursue tennis wholeheartedly, playing in tournaments across the country, earning a ranking, and getting noticed by colleges and coaches alike. Without it, she says she wouldn’t be where she’s at today.

“My tennis would have struggled. I wouldn’t have developed as much.”

With her first year of college nearly complete, Wu remains as committed as ever to improving her game while completing pre-med requirements.

Tennis, however, is No. 1. She knew early on, at age 9 in fact, that she had a special talent for the game and says simply, “I’m trying really hard to see where it will take me.”

This story was published in the 2009-10 MU High School bulletin (July 2009).