Navigating the NCAA Initial Eligibility Requirements can be a challenge, and we are here to assist you every step of the way. Our Douglas County High School Coaches and School Counselors are available to answer your questions and help you during this very important time. Please follow up with your Coach and/or School Counselor for further assistance.
Here are a Few Thoughts Do’s for Parents and Student-Athletes About College Recruitment
1. Be a team with your child. Understand their capabilities and work style. Some kids will handle the bulk of the college search and look to the parent mainly for approval and support. Others are less willing or motivated, so the parent must be more involved.
2. Establish a timeline. Senior year is too late to begin gathering information on prospective schools or to send letters and playing resumes to coaches: The early signing period for letters of intent is in November, and the late period begins in April. Coaches at competitive programs start tracking kids when the kids are freshmen and sophomores, so that’s an ideal time to begin. Visit www.nationalletter.org for specific dates.
3. Stay organized. Make a folder for each school under consideration and put everything about that school into the folder. Keep track of deadlines, which may differ from school to school. Much of your correspondence will be by email; if it’s important print it out and put it in the folder.
4. Do your own homework. Information is plentiful, so make it work for you. Learn the importance and terminology of the SAT and ACT tests, the NCAA’s regulations and such things as FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and SAR (Student Aid Report).
5. Discuss finances. Communicating your family’s financial picture and having a budget for college expenses will help your child assess the costs of her or his decisions. Every institution has two types of non-athletic financial aid: merit-based (calculated on grades and test scores) and need-based (calculated on a family’s income and savings). It’s important to factor all these costs into a decision because a non-athletic award, especially at a private school, may be greater than partial athletic scholarship at a public institution. This could reduce the net cost of a private school to a similar out-of-pocket
6. Let your child make decisions… This is one of their first opportunities to make adult choices, and they must live with the ramifications. Don’t push your child to your favorite schools or to seek a golf scholarship if their priorities don’t match yours.
… And communicate with coaches. Coaches want to hear from the player because that’s who will be in the classroom and on the team. Encourage your child to initiate the contact, write the “Dear Coach” letters, answer questionnaires and field calls from coaches. If you accompany your child on a campus visit let her or him answer most of the questions.
7. Make time for campus visits. Nothing influences where a college stands on your child’s priority list more than campus visits. Schedule vacations and/or weekends for them during your child’s sophomore and junior years.
There are two types of visits: unofficial and official.
- Unofficial: Your family pays all expenses. You can make them at any time and stay as long as you wish — an hour or a day. There’s value in making them during the school year, while students are in class, but that’s not always possible. Regardless of timing, don’t go unannounced. Let the coach and admissions department know when you’ll arrive. Someone can provide a campus tour and give you a chance to look at the dorms and classrooms, sample dorm food, meet someone in a specific academic department and tour the athletic facilities.
- Official: These can be taken starting on the first day of classes for your child’s senior year of high school. Recruited student-athletes are allowed five official visits. They are strictly regulated by NCAA rules and cannot extend beyond 48 hours. Only the student’s expenses are paid. Most schools tightly program official visits. Keep in mind, though, that a lot of athletic departments don’t have the funds to pay these costs so you might have to pay for all visits. It’s money well spent.
8. Encourage and follow-up. These are key themes for parents. Your child may think you are nagging them about whether they have responded to e-mail or mailed an important document, but you can do it a way that is supporting and not degrading. In the end your child or children will appreciate the role you played in helping them select and attend the best college for them.