It is very exciting to look for opportunities to move from a high school athlete to a college athlete! There are various approaches to doing this. I want to share with you tips we have learned from our family’s experience in hopes it can help other parents!
8 Tips to Finding a College Athletics Program for Your Athlete
- Truly observe your student athlete objectively about their skill level. It’s very easy to have “parent-goggles” regarding the skill level of your student athlete. Many parents have unrealistic expectations for the type of athlete they have and refuse to listen to real assessments. Have an honest conversation with your student athlete about ability levels and move forward. As a side note, it is important to remember; this is the college athletics experience for your son or daughter, not you. It is of NO REFLECTION on you as a parent what level of college athletics your son or daughter plays. Many parents lose sight of this key point and push their kids into college athletic programs that are not a fit for their actual athlete.
- To assist in deciding which direction to go first, sit down with your student athlete and talk about the following questions:
- What size school/athletic program does my student want to attend?
- Does the size of the program desired match the athletic ability of the athlete?
- Is it important for family to attend the games/matches?
- Is it important to be able to come home more than once a year?
- Does your student want to be involved in other activities, besides athletics, in college?
These are valuable questions to discuss because it will help narrow your search for programs/schools.
- Research and have your student athlete attend prospect/id camps and available training camps at Universities and Colleges. Check out all the different division levels, based on the recommendations from club coaches and high school coaches. This exposes your athlete to athletics at the collegiate level; being trained by college players and coaches, staying overnight in a dorm, and receiving effective constructive criticism about their skill level.
- Remember the purpose of college is to receive an education. The key is finding the college athletics experience that matches your athlete’s abilities, desires, social needs, and most importantly FIELD OF STUDY. It is important to consider all schools your athlete is interested in, within all divisions.
- Becoming a college athlete is a time and money commitment. You do not need to hire an outside recruiting firm to hustle your athlete’s player profile and video all around. But you do need to recognize that you and your athlete will be hustling his or her player profile and video around. You and your player will be researching schools, visiting schools, emailing coaches, attending college prospect camps, college ID camps, and college showcase tournaments. You and your athlete will create a player resume and a highlight reel based on game footage filmed. You can hire the footage out, but I wouldn’t get too crazy here. I “hired” my son to film the footage for my daughter. You do not need to break the bank. However, these are all real costs of time and money you will be investing.
- Communicating with college coaches is important. Most coaches DO NOT want emails, calls, etc from parents. All communication needs to be from the student athlete. It can be tempting to write email communication for your student….also a no-no. Coaches can tell it is not written by the student and it is generally a red flag to them. You the parent will not be playing for them, so you the parent do not need to communicate on behalf of your student.
- Once you narrow the search, you can start visiting the schools and coaches. Make sure your student athlete has a list of questions for the admissions counselor as well as a list of questions for the coach. Parents on the college visits are there for support and gentle reminders, but the student athlete should be the one interviewing the school and coach.
- Coaches will reach out to your student expressing interest in his/her athletic contribution. Hopefully, these Coaches are also at schools your student athlete is interested in and has their field of study. From there, your family has to examine the financials and decide what is the best fit for your student athlete and your family.