The college recruiting process is an exciting time for a high school student-athlete, its a journey full of adventure. It’s important that the student-athlete is looking for the “right fit” for them and nobody else. They want to find a school that will provide them with the best overall college experience, academically, athletically, and socially or personally. That does not mean the parents are not a part of this journey with their child. Parents should focus on what is right for their son or daughter, academically, athletically, and personally. I encourage parents to help their kids look at the big picture when it comes to looking at colleges. Remember, it is important to understand that college coaches are recruiting your child not you. However, college coaches don’t want to recruit a student who has overbearing parents also known as helicopter parents.
This is the time to hand your kids the “recruiting” keys. Here are 8 recruiting tips for parents to support their athlete during the college recruiting process.
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- Parents should be respectful of their son or daughters’ ownership of the college search process. It is the student who will spend the years on the college campus, and therefore, the decision must ultimately be theirs. The college decision is one of the biggest decisions a teenager will make, and that is why I believe it is the first step to becoming an adult. Students can gain decision making skills, improve their self-confidence, and develop perseverance which will help them throughout the rest of their lives.
- Don’t contact the college coach on your child’s behalf that’s an immediate sign to a coach that parents are over involved. Over the years, there have been many instances where a college coach has not recruited a student-athlete because of his/her parents. Don’t be that parent! As parents of a child who aspires to play in college you should provide them with guidance and support. College coaches can usually recognize an email written by a parent compared to one written by a student. As you get further into the process and your child has built a strong relationship with the coach, it may be alright to contact the coach if you have a specific questions maybe related to financial aid, etc. You can proofread your child’s emails prior to sending to college coaches if needed.
- You should be realistic regarding your child’s abilities and talents. While each student is special and has unique qualities, it is difficult for a parent to be entirely objective about one’s own child. Remember that college athletics are extremely competitive and there are many talented young athletes who are looking for the same opportunities as your son or daughter. There is a school out there that will fit your child’s athletic, academic, and personal needs, and you need to help them find it.
- Give your son or daughter the benefit of your wisdom and your experience, and tell your child “up front” if there will be restrictions (financial or otherwise) on his/her college options. It is important to have a conversation about finances early on in the process. You do not want your son or daughter to get their heart set on a school and find out down the road that you don’t think you can afford it. Your kids want and need your help throughout the process but they do not need to be overwhelmed with your impressions and ideas. Be available to help when help is solicited.
- Parents can be very useful with the logistical aspects of the college search process. They can help make travel arrangements to campuses, schedule college interviews, and schedule testing. Parents can help to ensure that critical deadlines are met. Be supportive of your child’s aspirations, but encourage him/her to be realistic. Help him/her to select the “best” college choices, not necessarily the “top-name” or most prestigious institution.
- You should prepare your child to be an independent being. Encourage time away from home where your child must be self-reliant. Help establish a checking account so they can learn to manage their own money.
- Realize the college admission/selection process is a highly stressful time for the student as well as the parent. Take each part of the process one step at a time, and remember help is always readily available. Check out the GFS Jump Start Advising Program
- Help prepare them for the transition to college. The summer after high school graduation, as well as the first semester of college, can be difficult. As your son or daughter makes the adjustment to from high school to college, avoid over reacting to new situations, try to sort through the conflicts and issues as they arise.