This is an exciting time for your child and the entire family. Although it is your son/daughter who ultimately has to make the final college decision, your role as parents of a student-athlete is extremely significant. By working through the college recruiting and entrance process together, as a team, you and your son/daughter will find that this process becomes less stressful and confusing.
High school and college environments today may be very different from when you were a student. Additionally, many parents have never experienced the athletic recruiting process or life as a student-athlete. FCGA is here to help answer your questions and guide you through this process. Please feel free to call us at any time. The information provided below highlights not only some realities of higher education and college athletics, but also your role as it relates to these realities.
Importance of Higher Education
Higher education is essential for high school students to secure their future. Today, more than 67% of high school graduates enter college, as compared to the mere 50% of college seniors who continued on to college 20 years ago. As parents, you must stress the importance of a college education. Stay interested and involved in your child’s high school activities and education. Become acquainted with your child’s teachers and coaches; discuss his/her progress. Make sure that he/she is taking the right courses not only to meet the requirements for high school graduation, but also to prepare him for college. Encourage your child to begin thinking about their academic interests and where they might like to attend school.
The Cost of Higher Education
There has been a 234% increase in the cost of college education since the mid 1980’s. Although there is a possibility that your son/daughter will earn an athletic scholarship, freshmen rarely have the entire cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board fully covered. Therefore, you should begin to save and research other methods of obtaining financial assistance. There are numerous scholarships and grants available that are based on academic abilities, financial need, and other factors. Moreover, financial aid packages are available through a multitude of sources.
It is also important that you, as a family, begin to discuss your son’s options for college. If your son is an athletic star, you might have major colleges contacting you about scholarship offers. In reality, this scenario rarely occurs. Only the very top athletes in each sport are actively recruited by the major institutions. Although college athletics has come a long way, coaches still have small recruiting budgets and very little time to recruit. Becoming a part of the FCGA program is a step that will help your child gain exposure and become a recruited athlete. Through this matching and marketing process, college coaches will learn of your child’s abilities.
Now that you have begun the exposure process, you, as a family, should begin to think about the schools where your son/daughter can compete both academically and athletically. Talk to your child about the colleges that he wants to attend. Assess whether he/she has the grades and the test scores to attend these institutions. Analyze whether you have the funding to help your son/daughter attend his/her college choice. Discuss the importance of participating in college athletics. Are the schools that he/she wants to attend also schools where he/she can compete in their athletic programs? Is your son/daughter willing to attend a smaller school in order to fulfill their dream of being a college athlete? Is your child willing to walk on to a college athletic team? These are all issues that you will face over the next few months.
College Athletics Recruiting
Becoming a recruited college athlete makes the college decision process even more exciting. Depending on whether your son/daughter has attended camps or had other exposure, you might already be receiving letters from college coaches. If not, you will be receiving letters soon after FCGA sends out your resume and other marketing information. Please review these letters with your child, complete the recruiting profiles and return the paperwork promptly to the institution. Your son/daughter may also begin receiving phone calls from college coaches; take the time to get to know these coaches. A college coach becomes very instrumental in a student-athlete’s life. Both you and your child should be sure that you like the coach’s personality and style of coaching. Due to NCAA regulations coaches cannot personally phone your child until September 1 following their junior year of high school, and can only make one phone call a week. If you or your son has questions for a coach who has called to talk with you, you should not hesitate to call him or her.
Your family should also take the opportunity to visit the schools he is interested in attending. Some institutions will invite your son/daughter to come on an Official Visit. Both you and your son/daughter should make this trip. Official visits are a great way to become familiar with the team, the coach, the school’s academic offerings, and the athletic department in general. If your family is not invited on an official visit and your child is interested in attending an institution, you should visit the campus and make an appointment to meet with the coach and academic advisors.
Benefits of Being a College Student-Athlete
Participating in college athletics is a great experience. You should encourage your child to pursue their dream of becoming a collegiate student-athlete. The world of intercollegiate athletics not only opens doors into the world of sports, but it also provides a social outlet and builds character. Athletics are one way to gain an identity and a family away from home. Most institutions also grant their student-athletes many privileges. Generally, athletic departments offer individual athletic counseling, tutoring and medical attention. Student-athletes have the opportunity to travel and interact with numerous people from all over the world. Finally, by participating in college athletics, your child will fulfill many of their dreams and be well on his/her way to creating new dreams for the future.