04/25/2015

Preparing for College Athletics: The Recruiting Process


By Whitney Liehr

 Many high school athletes dream about playing sports in college. The recruiting process is an incredibly exciting and fun experience but at the same time can be daunting in many ways. Therefore, I’d like to explain some the steps that parents and children likely take during college recruitment and while also sharing my thoughts what I think are some of the most important things to focus on.

 The first step toward playing on a college team is making contact with coaches and being seen. This can be through club sports, high school games, and summer camps so try to get as much exposure in front of coaches as possible. Be aware that if a college coach doesn’t reach out to you and your child that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested. This is because they simply can’t see everyone. So, if you’re interested in a specific school it’s up to you or your child to take initiative and contact the coach. An email or phone call shows a coach you care and may get you one step closer to getting your foot in the door. 

 Once you’ve established contact with a coach, be ready to answers questions about yourself as well as ask your own set of questions about their program. Understand that you are interviewing a coach about their program just as much as they are interviewing you. Have specific reasons as to why their school is appealing to you as well as what strengths you have to bring to their team.

 If a coach feels that you or your child may be a good fit for their program, the next step in the process is an official visit. If you are offered official visits from several schools go to as many as you can. Take advantage of the opportunity to spend a weekend on campus, live the life of a student athlete, and get a feel for the school, the program and the team. This is an important step in the process because over the next four years you will spend more time with your teammates and coaches then you can possibly imagine.  Be inquisitive and try to learn as much as possible while out on your visits. Below, I’ve listed some questions to consider asking coaches or athletes throughout the recruiting process. By no means is this a comprehensive list but after asking some college graduates these are some the questions they wished they had asked before deciding on where commit.  

Team Dynamics & Culture:      
  • How do you see me fitting into your system?
  • How would you describe the culture of the team?
  • What top three traits do your best players exhibit? 

College Life Questions:

  • What is a typical “day in the life” like for a member of your team during the season?     
  • What is the housing situation like? Do teammates typically live together?
  • Is it possible to work part-time in addition to playing a sport and studying? 
  • What about during the off-season?    
  • Do student-athletes stay on campus during the summer? 

Academics:

  • What does the travel schedule look like and how much class will I be missing? 
  • How do professors accommodate athletes with regard to missing exams for travel and competition?
  • What percentage of your athletes graduate and how long does it take them to graduate?
  • What sort of academic advising and tutoring will I have available to me?
  • What are your policies on traveling abroad for a semester?

Admissions & Scholarship:

  • What are the admission requirements for an athlete?
  • What types of academic scholarships are available? 
  • What about other sorts of grants and aid? 
  • Am I under consideration for a scholarship?
  • How many scholarships do you have available for my class?


After all is said and done, have fun and enjoy the process. Being a collegiate athlete is a unique opportunity and no matter where you end up playing make the best of it!