A Parent’s Role in the College Recruiting Process

  13 SwimSwam | February 06th, 2015 | Big Ten, College, International, News

Contributor, Rick Paine, is an expert on college swimming and the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). ACC is a SwimSwam Partner.

Your swimmer is about to make one of the most important decisions of their life, selecting the right college. They need your help now more than ever.

When we start working with a swimmer and their family we make it very clear that the parent(s) must be involved throughout the entire recruiting process.

As a parent you can see just how busy your swimmer is between school and practice. Do you think they can find another 10 hours a week to handle all of the recruiting by themselves?

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do help them research colleges for academics and swimming
  • Don’t tell them where to go. Your advice is very important, but let them ultimately decide
  • Do help them keep their notes organized and readily accessible
  • Don’t become their secretary at their beck and call. The swimmer must be engaged in the entire recruiting process from the start
  • Do help them organize all of the email correspondence they will have with college coaches
  • Don’t answer emails to college coaches for them
  • Do have a family meeting and discuss finances and come up with a figure that everyone can agree on that would be the maximum amount you can invest in at least their first year at a college
  • Don’t share this figure with the college coaches

Swimmers at D-I, D-II and NAIA schools that offer athletic scholarships always have a chance of getting a scholarship increase in their second year as they improve

  • Do take video of your swimmer’s races and help them get it to college coaches. Nearly every coach today wants to see what a swimmer looks like when they race. You don’t need to hire a professional videographer for this. You can do it yourself
  • Don’t provide commentary on the video
  • Do take phone messages from college coaches if your swimmer is not available and let the coaches know when they can call back
  • Don’t take up the coach’s time on the phone unless they want to talk. Coaches are only allowed one phone call a week to recruits and the NCAA rules state that talking with a parent for a certain length of time “could” count as the one phone call for that week
  • Do encourage your swimmer to set goals and sell their potential to the college coaches
  • Don’t try to sell your swimmer’s potential to the coaches
  • Do get your swimmer’s coaches involved in the process and ask their opinion on different colleges. They know your swimmer and what they need better than anyone. Ask them to put together an assessment that your swimmer can send to college coaches
  • Don’t expect them to get your swimmer recruited
  • Do insist that your swimmer take ownership of the recruiting process
  • Don’t abandoned them

Recruiting trips-

Parents are allowed and at some colleges even encouraged to accompany their swimmer on an official visit. Schools are allowed to pay for the parents’ room and meals on an official visit, but don’t count on it. Only a small number of schools have a recruiting budget large enough to handle this expense.

We advise our parents to definitely accompany their swimmer on an un-official visit, but let them take the official visits by themselves.

Enjoy the ride. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you and your swimmer.

Finding out if you have what it takes to compete in swimming at the college level is easy, and many swimmers do have the potential considering all of the options. Go to www.ACCrecruits and submit a Free Profile.

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13 Comments on "A Parent’s Role in the College Recruiting Process"

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College Swimmer

Can’t emphasize the last point enough, there’s a fine line for how a parent should be involved on an official visit. At our school most parents drop their kids off and we give them a school tour and they come to breakfast with the recruits and their hosts one day, but that’s about it. It’s usually very uncomfortable when a parent hovers over their kid for the entire weekend, let them go out and meet the team and see the school for themself

Great advice College Swimmer, We let our parents know that if they go on a visit they will probably not see their swimmer and would only meet with the coaches for a very short period of time if at all. They can visit with the academic advisors and financial aid people, but for most of the weekend they will be on their own. We try to get them to understand that the visit is about their swimmer getting to know the coaches and other swimmers and vice versa. If the parent insists on being at the meeting between the swimmer and coach we advise them to bring a role of duct tape with them. We instruct them to tear off… Read more »
I would quibble a little with the advice on visits. While it would be ideal for parents and swimmers to take an un-official visits to a school before the swimmer takes an official on their own, in many cases that it’s realistic. My mother joined me on official recruiting trips to schools she had never been to before. She skipped trips to schools she had visited in the past (for swim meets or other reasons). She said that if she was going to be paying for part of my education (which was likely since no school was offering me a full ride for swimming), she wanted to at least see the campus and get a feel for the school. While… Read more »

doesn’t hurt to prep your kid for said meetings/phone conversations with coaches. Like asking them what would you say if a coach asks this. not to a point where your scripting every interaction just getting him prepared for what they might ask/say.

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