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. That does not mean the parents are not a part of this journey with their child. The parents should focus on what is right for their son or daughter, academically, athletically, and personally. Parents should not push their kids in a direction or to a school they will not be a good fit for academically, athletically, or personally. Parents should 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. Let your child drive the car in the recruiting process. They will be the ones on campus going to classes, eating in the cafeteria, practicing, and spending time in the dorms. Here are some helpful tips for parents as they begin the recruiting process with their son or daughter.
- Don’t contact the college coach on your child’s behalf that’s an immediate sign to a coach that parents are over involved. Generally, most college coaches can recognize an email written from a teenager to an adult. 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.
- 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.
- 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 is 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.
- You need to 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. 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 independent beings. 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 that the college admissions process is a highly stressful time for the students as well as you the parents. Take each part of the process one step at a time, and remember that help is always readily available.
The college recruiting process is the pinnacle of all of time, effort, commitment, and sacrifice that both the student and parents have put in over the years. So, it only makes sense that this journey is for both the student and parent. Enjoy the adventure. Be sure to explore all of your options so that you can make informed decisions. Do your homework and seek out the appropriate help to find the answers you need. It is your child’s future. They are worth it.