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When is the Right Time to Talk About an Athletic Scholarship With a Coach?

asking coaches about scholarships

As the signing period for 2012 continues, we are getting the question, when is the right time to discuss scholarship with coaches? Below is a three-point checklist for recruits who want to discuss scholarships with coaches but don’t want to offend them by looking like all they care about is money.

Reader question:

“I have received offers from NAIA and NCAA D3 schools during these last few months of my senior year but have not committed to a program. Recently, I heard from two coaches at the NCAA D2 level about being part of their team. I had not heard from either of these programs for several months. Both coaches told me that athletes they had offered scholarships to went to other schools and that is why they are offering me a spot now. Neither coach has discussed the possibility of a scholarship for me.

I do not want to ruin the opportunity to play D2 by looking like an athlete who is only interested in a scholarship, but the cost of college is important consideration to me and my family. When is the right time to discuss a scholarship with the coaches?”

~Jane, recruit

This is an excellent question. Almost every recruit who does not have multiple offers on signing day will have this experience. The athlete above is in a perfect position to have a discussion about scholarships because they have laid a good foundation with the coaches. Before you start talking about scholarships, there are a few things you need to make sure of.

1. Make Sure the Coach Understands You Are Interested in Playing For Their Program, Not Just a Scholarship

Writing personal e-mails and making phone calls to programs you are interested in is a must. You have to try to establish a relationship with coaches years before the signing period if you want a scholarship.

2. Find out Where You Rank on the Recruiting Board for Each Program

It is crucial for you to know where you rank with each program so you know what kind of offer to expect. You want to know if coaches are making offers to any other recruits as well as you. If you are the only recruit, you are in a better position to negotiate; if the coach has offered other recruits, find out how long you have to decide.

3. Establish Written Offers and Time Lines on Your Decision with Your Backup Schools

Get offers from you backup schools in writing and make sure you know how long these offers are valid. There is nothing worse than ignoring offers from smaller schools for bigger schools and missing out on an offer altogether.

When it is time to discuss scholarships, begin the conversation by asking, “What is the expected contribution of me and my family?” Do not start off by asking about an athletic scholarship. Ask the coach what is the cost of attending their university and how much would you be responsible for? This leaves the door open for other forms of financial aid and not just athletic scholarships. In addition, you are communicating in terms of total costs and not just about what size the scholarship might be. Here are more useful tips about negotiating for scholarships.

Do you have questions about the recruiting process that you need help with? Ask your questions below and we will respond as soon as possible. If it is good enough, we might cover it on our weekly episode of the recruiting corner. You can also ask your questions on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!