I surveyed parents and student-athletes earlier this month, and the responses were insightful. From goals to needs, many people expressed their honest thoughts. I’m thankful for the detailed responses. Let me give you a peek at some trends I saw in the responses, then I’ll address them.
Let me start at the beginning.
The first thing that popped out to me was the goal student-athletes expressed. By far, the most frequent answer was “A full ride scholarship.” That’s great, because you have a clear goal, the highest scholarship goal when it comes to financial help. Several others stated they wanted a partial or 50% scholarship.
Let me address this. While a full or partial scholarship is a great achievement, not one athlete stated that a goal was to compete in a program that is a good fit for them. You see, you can be on scholarship and hate it there. That’s a tragedy.
Money isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing a school. We counsel families to look at a variety of things when it comes to finding the right school. Dollars, of course, are a big factor. But look at the academic match, where the school is located, what the athletic program is like, how you relate to the coach, and other variables that will make up your college experience.
Parents had a more broad response to the question of the #1 goal. For instance, one parent said, “Opportunity to play at a high level without sacrificing academics .” Another responded, “Help further daughter’s education and possibly have her play a sport she loves.”
I was encouraged by a number of the parents’ responses. Of course, it is usually the case that the parent is thinking well beyond their student-athlete’s athletic career. They’re thinking long-term.
This leads me to emphasize how important it is for the parent and student-athlete to work together on the recruiting process. Each has a role in this journey. Having time to discuss goals, preferences, school interest and other elements is really critical. The athlete and parent are usually some distance apart on some of these elements.
Parents, be patient with your student-athlete. Student-athlete, listen to your parents’ advice. Each of you has something to contribute to this process, and you’ll need each other in this journey. It won’t be easy.