You have a college coach interested in having you play on their soccer team and you are preparing to either speak with them over the phone, via a Zoom meeting or in-person on a recruiting visit. To make the most of this “visit” you need to ask the right questions. We have worked with many high school sports standouts on their college search journey helping them prep for these important coach meetings. Here are some of the questions we recommend they ask to elicit the information they need to make an informed decision about which school to attend.
8 Key Questions to Ask the College Coach During Your Visit
1. What is the coach looking for in the athletes they are recruiting?
In other words, what are their recruiting needs for your class? For example, does the football coach need a defensive end? Are there two seniors on the coaches’ dive team that they need to fill the following year? This question helps you determine how many spots on their team they need to fill.
2. How much playing time will I get in the first year or two?
The answer to this will impact your decision based on whether you are looking to be a lower level player on a more competitive team and work your way up to participation in competitive play or if you desire to play from day one.
3. What is the coach’s recruiting timeline?
You want to find out if they have already recruited some athletes for your class, therefore spots have been taken, or are all of the slots they are looking to fill still open. Inquire as to the timing on when they would like to fill their team and when you can expect to hear if you are being offered a place on their team.
4. Are there athletic, merit or financial aid grants/scholarships available to fund your college education?
Know that these are 3 separate buckets of money at a college. Athletic funds are minimal, if any. Many sports teams are allotted no athletic scholarships. Merit funds are based on your credentials and it is up to admissions to decide if you will be awarded any. Financial aid grants are based on financial need. Typically, a coach will ask for your parents to complete a financial form so the college can see if you will qualify for financial aid. Coaches want to see if they can offer you money, other than through an athletic scholarship, since, if they have any athletic scholarship funds available, they dole that out very selectively. Also know that athletic scholarships are renewed and assessed each year. It is not a guarantee that if you are awarded athletic scholarship funds that that same amount will be offered in subsequent years.
5. What does a typical day look like for your athletes?
This is the overall question, but so many other questions follow: What is the training schedule, in and offseason? What is the competition schedule? Will you be traveling? How much school will you miss? How does the college handle missed classes, and possibly exams, for their athletes? Are there tutors specifically available for athletes? You need to give thought to what your athletic/social/academic life balance will be like. How challenging will your major be and will you be able to balance that with being an athlete?
6. Ask the coach to describe their coaching style.
This is key. Every athlete has their desire for how they will work with a coach, and team, best. Matching their style with your preferences is paramount, since you will be spending a good amount of your time with this coach and his/her players.
7. What are the GPA expectations for the athletes on your team? Understanding this, and matching it with your expectations is paramount.
8. Are there special housing options for their collegiate athletes?
Will you be required to live with the team or can you live wherever you choose?
Playing the College Recruitment Game
Being recruited as a collegiate athlete is a dance, a game that you need to play and understand. For the majority of athletes it takes time, it’s stressful and you won’t know until the fall of your senior year, the September/October timeframe, where, and if, you will be recruited.
In addition, as your quest for being recruited by a college to participate in your sport on the NCAA level begins, understanding where your athletic ability fits into the college’s level of play and athletes they are looking for is paramount, and many times, eye-opening. You’re at the top of your game in high school, MVP at each turn, but understand that when you get into the much larger collegiate arena, that may very well differ from your current reality. Understanding this, and matching your athletic ability with the colleges that fit you on a social, academic, financial and emotional level is key. You may find out from this all-important sports visit that the college is not the right fit for you and you have to change plans.
College Visit for Sports Takeaway
Above are some questions and topics you should address as you head down the college athletic recruiting journey. Be patient. Be proactive. I always say to my athletes, the coaches are not recruiting you, you are recruiting them. Complete those athletic recruiting forms, reach out to the coaches, and not just once, but multiple times. The coaches also need to know that you are interested in them. This process comes down to the wire, many times, so patience, perseverance and understanding the landscape, as it relates to your desires and athletic ability, is what the name of the game is. The dance will eventually end and you will land. It may not be where you originally thought you would, but the recruiting process does need to come to an end, one way or another.
Looking for help with the college search and application process? We help students and families through the entire college planning journey – from search, applications and essays to interview prep, financial aid consultation and final school selection.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 845.551.6946. We work with students in person, through Zoom, over the phone and by email.