Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
Dear Swim Mom,
I’m concerned because my son who is a good swimmer, hasn’t gotten any offers from colleges, but his friends have already committed. He’s going to be a senior in high school in the fall. He’s getting stressed out and feels like he’s never going to be recruited. He hasn’t heard back from the coaches from his top schools. But, he’s been asked to go on recruit trips to schools that aren’t his first choices. What should he do? How can I help?
Mom of Senior Swimmer
Dear Mom of Senior Swimmer,
First of all, don’t panic. There’s still plenty of time. Many seniors go on recruit trips in the fall and don’t make decisions until after they’ve visited several schools. Although swimmers are making commitments earlier and earlier, your son has time to explore more options and can look at more schools.
College recruiting is exciting but can also be stressful. It’s important that your son finds a school that is a good fit for him, not only as a swimmer but academically and personally, too. One of the best pieces of advice I heard was to make sure your child can see themselves at a school without swimming. Not all kids swim for all four years. They may get injured or they may decide they don’t want to swim anymore. They have to want to be at their university without their swim team.
If he has done his homework to see that he fits in both academically and athletically, he should reach out to the coaches to let them know he’s interested. For the schools where the coaches haven’t responded to him, he can email them again. I’ve heard coaches say that kids can fall through the cracks and they like it when kids reach out to them.
Remind your son to fill out the online athletic questionnaires for universities as well as email coaches.
Have your son research more schools where he can make a contribution at their conference meets. There’s a high chance of being recruited if he can score points and make a difference on the team. Also, coaches care about academics and want their teams to have strong GPAs. If your son has a high GPA in high school, make sure he points this out, too.
Another option is to hire a recruiter to help with the search. There are many services available from recruiting Apps to companies like the American College Connection.
Good luck! Give your son support and help him along the journey.
What advice to do you have for a swimmer who hasn’t been recruited yet?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.