College recruiting is complicated and has grown increasingly competitive. There are many moving parts in developing and executing a successful plan of action, and the responsibilities of parents in college recruiting is a critical piece of the puzzle.
Parents play a significant role in the recruiting process that should be supportive, enthusiastic, but “indirect,” especially when it comes to communicating with college coaches.
Begin by establishing clear recruiting goals, objectives, and timelines. Identify the final college goal and work backward to the starting point of your plan.
You will notice “checkpoints” along the way that will eventually resurface as you navigate the college quest. Whether it is the signing of the national letter of intent, the official visit, or the first phone call placed to the coach, you will begin to develop a checklist of “things to do.”
The responsibilities parents play in college recruiting should be simple but impactful. Parents can help their children envision the process and understand their role. Half the battle in reaching any goal is understanding the mission. Create an educational yet fun approach to the process.
The more parents encourage their children to take an active role in controlling their destiny and executing the plan, the higher the chance they have in reaching their goals.
Develop a group of contributing players who offer significant strength in specific areas of the recruiting process. Prospective student-athletes will likely embrace the team approach. It demonstrates helpful assistance while distributing recruiting assignments out to the area experts.
Parents who have identified and cultivated strong relationships with team members (college advisor, high school, and club coach, etc.) will heighten their role in college recruiting. It lays the groundwork to specific roles that will be played out by each team member.
Parents should organize occasional team meetings where the group can review regular progress in the college search and offer suggestions to keep the momentum moving forward.
College coaches will contact high school and club coaches to gather information about the prospects they recruit. In addition, they need to act as a resource for families. They want to be able to field questions from mom and dad. More importantly, college coaches want to see the prospect for who he or she truly is.
Specifically, parents should encourage their children to be active and independent in their college quest. It drives proactive preparation, and the development of communication skills, and fosters a will to step up and own the college recruiting process.
Remember, college coaches are looking for 3 key ingredients in a prospect: Strong students, impact athletes, and a personal character that demonstrates self-confidence and leadership. A crucial role of parents in college recruiting is to empower their children and encourage them to control their communication playing field.
Communication with College Coaches
Prospects should assume direct responsibility for most of the interaction with college coaches. Parents should be actively involved as well. Whether it is negotiating financial aid, requesting a preliminary evaluation in admissions, or asking questions concerning campus safety, parents should not hesitate to inquire on behalf of their children respectfully.
However, parents should yield in some areas of the college recruiting process, especially when their kids appear to stumble. At times prospects will struggle with recruiting. However, college coaches are not looking at the stumble as much as they are looking at the recovery. Parents need to believe their kids will regroup and realign. Subsequently, allowing them to experience the “good struggle” will give prospects a greater appreciation of the role of parents in the recruiting process.
There are several red flags parents should avoid:
face-to-face interviews with college coaches, avoid answering questions
that college coaches ask your children.
from responding to phone and e-mail messages left by college coaches and
directed to the prospect.
should review e-mails for proper grammar and sentence structure before
being sent to college coaches.
questions” should be timed appropriately. You do not want to approach the
first meeting with a college coach asking for a scholarship! Develop
sincere relationships with college coaches. Executing a slow and steady plan
will win the race.
Parents play an important role in college recruiting and many parents try to control the recruiting process. Consequently, the best gift we can offer our children is the freedom to control their playing field. Focus on everything positive and fun in the college search. When our children seem doubtful or frustrated, have faith in their resiliency to rebound and advance the quest with confidence and self-reliance.