Q: What is the best way to verify that a school or coach is right for your child?
A: Whether helping your child choose a school as a blue-chip prospect with 50 scholarship offers or as a Division III non-scholarship athlete, it is very important to develop personal selection criteria that will help them through the process – and prioritize it based on their non-negotiables and preferences. Before the process becomes overwhelming, what are the core factors that they will need to be happy and successful? (LINK: 30 Factors Players Consider When Selecting a School)
As the process moves forward, there will likely be decisions weighed on the facts and decisions based what the heart wants. A school may be a great “fit” on paper but may just not “feel” right. Athletes need to feel at home, and those I’ve worked with that were successful in the past felt a feeling of “home” on campus.
There are four core factors that you need to research 1) academics; 2) town and university community; 3) athletic department and their potential 4) specific team/position.
Help your child to determine the handful of core factors that they will be making the decision off of, and stick to evaluating those! Don’t get heavily influenced by the other things that truly aren’t important! Coaches may be throwing factoid after factoid at you about what they have to offer, but many of those things may not be what is truly important to your child in the long run. Don’t get distracted from the core factors that are important to your child and family!
Is distance from home a factor? Academic major? Financial aid amount? Relationship with coaches? Strength of conference?
At the end of the day, the decision needs to come down to a gut feeling. It’s very important to not only evaluate these schools and what they have to offer, but to see them up close and personal for yourselves. Again, the school may not just “feel” right once they’re there or vice versa, there may be schools they don’t have a lot of interest in on paper, but they may get there and love the atmosphere.