As a parent, it is easy to get caught up in the recruiting process with your athlete. Choosing the right college is a huge decision for your athlete and your family, and visiting schools is an important part of that process. When your athlete is invited to make an official visit to a school, you want to make sure that they get everything they need from that visit to help them make a decision.
Official visits allow athletes to experience going to college firsthand. They spend time with the team members, go to class and practice, and also get to know the community and school life. While parents are usually welcome on these visits, the athlete should be the focus of the experience, so it’s a good idea for parents to stay home for this trip. Parents should be there to help discuss options and give advice, but they should never take over the visit. Coaches want to get to know the athlete and show them everything they have to offer, but they don’t want to deal with overbearing parents who won’t let the athlete speak for themselves.
It’s a Practice Run for Letting Go
Allowing your athlete to experience their official visits on their own will give you and your family a good idea of what to expect when they finally move on to college. Parents will experience what it will be like not having their athlete at home, and the athlete will see what it feels like to be a student athlete at the college level. It’s important for parents to be able to let their athlete go on their own since coaches will be the ones interacting with your athlete the most, and they need an opportunity to get to know the athlete without the parents there. This gives a better glimpse of how they will adjust once they are enrolled at the school for their first year.
Who Wants to Go to the School More: You or Your Athlete?
It is always important to make sure that the school you are visiting is a good fit for the athlete. Oftentimes, parents put a lot of pressure on their athletes to attend schools that they (the parents) want them to attend. While it is a good idea for your athlete to keep their options open, it is crucial that the athlete is visiting the school because they want to, not because their parents are pushing them to.
Find Something You Like about the College
Parents need to support their athlete as they make their choice in college. You should offer advice and insight and help the athlete recognize the strengths of each option. Do research and have discussions with your athlete so that they have all the information they need in order to make the decision. But don’t make the decision for them; the athlete needs to be able to finish the process and reach their own conclusion. It is the athlete who will be attending the college, not the parent, so they should have their say in where they want to go.