Questions Parents Should Ask College Coaches

The recruiting process as a whole is an extremely complicated one, so preparing specific questions to ask a college coach is critical. Asking the right questions and being provided with lots of information makes the recruiting process go smoother for both the parent and student-athlete.

It’s important to ask as many questions as you can, including academic concerns, the layout of a standard day, what the competition is like, and what expenses are associated. As college fast approaches for your student-athlete, it’s completely understandable and expected to have tons of unanswered questions. Whenever communicating with a coach, keep your questions concise and direct to obtain as much information as possible.

Below are just a few suggestions of different types of questions to consider asking. On first thought, you may not have many questions, but when thinking about the logistics of adjusting to college, many more should come to mind. Be sure to prepare some questions such as these, to be informed of what the shift from high school to college will really be like.

Academic Questions

When communicating with a college coach, it’s important to get an understanding of what academics are like at that college or university. Academics are the #1 priority as a student-athlete, and it’s extremely beneficial to both students and parents to have their questions answered.

What GPA Must My Student Maintain To Remain Eligible? This question is pertinent because every coach has different academic standards that he/she expects student-athletes to meet. Some coaches will follow the NCAA eligibility standards directly, while other coaches will set their own minimum GPA for players to meet. Below is a table of the NCAA Eligibility requirements.

Sophomore Year - By the START of Sophomore Year, you must have a cumulative GPA of 1.8 and have completed a minimum of 36 credit hours. Junior Year - By the START of Junior Year, you must have a cumulative GPA of 1.9 and have completed 72 credit hours. Senior Year - By the START of Senior Year, you must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and have completed a minimum of 108 credit hours. Fifth Year - By the START of a Fifth Year, you must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and have completed a minimum of 144 credit hours.

What Type Of Academic Aid Do Student-Athletes Receive? Knowing what help your child has access to is not only informational, but reassuring for a parent. Asking about what resources are available to your child will allow you to feel greater comfort when sending your child off to college. Besides just this, asking about academic aid is extremely important, as the academic standards vary heavily from university to university. For example, if your child is being recruited to an Ivy League school, the emphasis on academics is paramount. This being said, knowledge of the resource’s that student-athletes have available is comforting and important to understand.

Is It Possible To Qualify For Any Academic Scholarships? Inquiring about potential academic scholarships is important, especially if your student-athlete demonstrated high levels of academic success in high school. For one, the more money the merrier. As a parent, I’m sure you are looking to save every cent you can when sending your child to college. Rightfully so. This is why it’s important to see if there are any scholarships your student-athlete qualifies for, and see if you can shave off any other expenses.

What Majors Are Offered? This question is very important to ask as a parent. At the time you’re communicating with a college coach, your student-athlete may have no idea what their career path looks like. A parent should ask coaches what kind of majors are offered, as well as what some of their requirements are and how difficult they may be in comparison to other majors. This question more so applies to student-athletes who desire a specific major, to make sure that the University offers that career path. Either way, it’s important to have a general understanding of the academic offerings at the university your student-athlete may be attending.

Prepare a few questions about the academic standards of the school before having any long chat with a coach. It’s important to remember that student comes before athlete in reference to ‘student-athlete.’ Prioritize you or your child’s academics and ask a few questions like these to your prospective college coach.

Schedule Questions

The time commitment required to be a student-athlete is something you should ask about upfront, so to not be surprised by the length of practices and team activities. Besides just asking about the time commitment on a typical basis, make sure to ask questions about holiday and summer time commitments. At many schools, part of being a student-athlete is commitment over holiday’s and the summer. Make sure you are aware what kind of time-commitment you or your child is undertaking.

What Is The Offseason/Season Practice Schedule Like? This question should be one of the first one’s you ask a coach. Many teams have a variety of activities they perform on a daily basis. This can include team meetings, weightlifting, and actual practice time. It’s important to know the time commitment required on a daily-basis, as this will vary from school to school. Keep in mind, whatever time commitment is required, you must add school obligations to that. Make sure to ask about this so that you or your child isn’t overwhelmed by the workload during the first couple of weeks.

What Is The Travel Schedule Like? It’s important to have an understanding of what the travel schedule is like as when traveling starts to become frequent, it’s very easy for a student-athlete to slip behind on their work. Make sure to ask about this so that both you and your child are fully aware of what kind of travel is anticipated. Knowing how much class you may be expected to miss is significant, as it allows for your student-athlete to work ahead and be prepared to manage both a full-time academic schedule alongside the heavy commitment of being a college athlete.

What Are The Summer And Holiday Obligations? Ask this to get an understanding of what the year-round commitment looks like. Firstly, ask about summer obligations. Most college students will be enrolled in at least one session of summer school at their respective college or university to get ahead on their academics and help ease their class load during both their first and second semester. Besides just summer, make sure to ask and understand what is expected of student-athletes over the holidays. Specifically, for sports like basketball and football, there won’t be all that much time to visit home over the holidays. For football, most bowl games occur right around Christmas and can occupy most of a student’s winter break. As for basketball, many tournaments occur over Thanksgiving that prevent athletes from being with their families. This is in addition to games that may eat into winter break. Make sure to understand the summer and holiday commitment so that when the time comes, you as a parent are understanding and prepared for it.

What Does A Typical Day/Week Look Like? Be sure to ask the coach what a typical day in the life of a student-athlete will look like. This is one of the most important questions that can be asked by parent’s and/or athletes. Knowing what the typical schedule will look like gives everyone a little bit of comfort and will make it easier to prepare for the shift from high school to college. This will vary from school to school, so be sure to ask every coach that you have contact with what a typical day may look like.

One of the most difficult parts about transitioning from high school to college is managing your time. Being a student-athlete makes it no easier. Make sure to ask questions about what the time commitment is like to not be blindsided by the strenuous nature of being a student-athlete.

General Questions

Be sure to prepare some questions on any general concerns that you or your child may have. It’s important to be well-informed when making a college decision, so ask as many questions as you would like!

How Many People Are You Recruiting That Play My Position? Many student-athletes fully anticipate playing substantial minutes when they are on scholarship. While this is sometimes true, it’s important to understand what the competition looks like in terms of both currently enrolled student-athletes as well as incoming freshmen. Make sure you know who all your student-athlete will be competing with, as some individuals may prefer attending a school with less competition to guarantee more playing time.

Do Freshmen Play? It’s important to understand each coach’s policies in regards to who plays. This will vary from coach to coach but some will prefer the old-school methodology that seniority is what decides playing time. Make sure you understand who this coach awards playing time to, and be prepared to possibly redshirt or not play right away.

What Happens If My Child Gets Injured? This can sometimes be a very ‘sticky’ topic, so it can be necessary to discuss it with a coach. Varying from university to university, if your child is injured, some schools will cover the medical expenses, while others will expect the student-athlete’s family to absorb the expense. Make sure you have a firm understanding of what would happen if your athlete gets injured, so as to not feel disrespected or surprised if the expense falls on you and not the university.

There are many other questions that could be asked besides these, but they were just a few suggestions. Again, make sure to ask as much as you can as the more information you receive, the better!

Things To Keep In Mind

Be Prepared: Whether it be while taking an official visit or having a scheduled phone call, have questions prepared ahead of time. When a coach is recruiting your child, they are spending their time trying to make you and your student feel as welcomed and comfortable during the process as possible. Be sure to have some important question written down for whenever you may communicate with a coach. What you put into it is what you’ll get out of it; the more prepared you are, the more informed and educated you will be.

It Doesn’t Hurt To Ask: When communicating with coaches, never feel like you are asking too many questions. The decision of which university your child will attend is a lifetime one. Make sure you evaluate the positives and negatives of each school and ask all the questions you can to make a knowledgeable decision. The more information the better!

It’s About More Than Just The Athletic Facilities: Many schools nowadays try to woo student-athletes with redesigned, state of the art athletic facilities. While these are most definitely a nice perk of attending that school, it’s important to remember that it’s about more than just athletics. A large percentage of your time will either be spent in the classroom or where you live. Make sure you are comfortable with the academic rigor as well as other aspects of the school. Consider all parts of the university when making a decision.

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