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College Recruiting Tips for Parents

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson you can explore how parents can help their children gain athletic scholarships. Learn some helpful tips and discover some concrete things parents can do to help their student-athlete.

Parenting a Student-Athlete

Being a parent can be one of the most difficult--and most rewarding--things a person ever does. It can consume your time and energy as you try to give your children the best life possible.

If you're the parent of a student-athlete, you can spend endless hours driving your child to practices, watching games and hoping for your young athlete's success. If your child is good at sports and wants to compete at the university or collegiate level, you can play an important role in helping your student with the recruiting process, or the process colleges use to evaluate student-athletes for athletic scholarships.

This lesson offers some helpful tips for all parents to help their prospective student-athletes, regardless of the sport.

Have the Right Attitude

You may know the story of Todd Marinovich, a quarterback who was a star at the University of Southern California in the late 1980s. Marinovich's father quite literally trained him to be a quarterback from birth, carefully monitoring his diet and forcing Marinovich to follow a strict training regimen through his entire adolescence. Under the strain Marinovich burned out, playing briefly in the NFL and having serious substance abuse issues.

Marinovich's story is a sad case of a parent pushing his child way too hard. Students--not parents--should be the ones driving themselves to train and compete. The first and most important thing parents can do for their student-athletes is be supportive. This also applies to the recruiting process. Parents may have an idea of where they want their child to go to school or what coach they want them to play under, but the final choice should always be the student's.

Be a Guide

Finding a college and transitioning from being an adolescent in high school to being an adult on your own is a scary enough proposition for any kid. Add in the stress and strain of trying to get recruited and it can be a lot to handle. That is why you will want to help guide your student and provide information and advice on both the recruiting process and the wider world. After all, things that are routine for adults, like writing a rent check or getting an oil change, can be completely foreign to young students.

Do Your Research

An important part of helping your student-athlete is having answers when questions arise. Students may set their hearts on one or two schools, but you should take some time to learn about the general recruiting process in your child's sport so you can help your student find the right fit. For example, learn what schools offer scholarships in the sport, how many scholarships they offer, and how to get in contact with coaches. Learn about their training requirements and performance measurements.

Being a resource for your child can be tremendously helpful to your child and knowledge of the entire process can be personally reassuring.

Proofread Letters

Unless your student is a top athlete in a major spectator sport, there is a good chance your child will need to reach out to coaches and make first contact to start the recruiting process. Help your student craft these letters by proofreading and providing helpful suggestions on language. You shouldn't write the letter yourself, but you can help to make your student's letters more readable and professional.

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