This checklist is designed specifically for parents of student-athletes. Many parents drive 5 hours one way for a weekend tournament or sit through an entire meet to see a few minutes of their child competing. For the parents who love watching their student-athlete compete and succeed here is a quick run-down of what your child needs to consider when choosing the right college.
First Things First: Location
Location is one of the first things to consider. How close or far away does your son or daughter want to be? What is manageable for the family? Will you have opportunity to see your child compete without spending the rest of their college fund?
Would your child prefer to learn in a small, intimate setting or the classic college feel of a large campus with a large student population and large classes? Find out the type of learning environment that will work for them–are they better in group learning or individual?
Will your student-athlete be exposed to many different types of courses, especially if the college is small? Or will they get a chance to experience new departments and have the opportunity to pick a major they are passionate about later in their college career? Is the college known for having a strong academic background?
What do the practice facilities entail? Will your child be comfortable? Will it be the type of atmosphere that will allow them to develop as an athlete?
Does your child have other interests? Will there be enough club or other opportunities like Greek life or religious clubs that your child would be able to be a part of?
Talk to Current Students
Have your child touch base with friends who attend the campus and discuss what they like or don’t like about it. Find out what drew them to the campus and ask about classes and course availability. Have Your student-athlete should contact current student-athletes at the college and ask them questions about all aspects of college life. This is the best perspective since your child will be in their shoes very soon.
What are the types of support services that will be available to student-athletes? Will they have access to tutors and assistance when they have to leave campus for games or tournaments?
Knowing this statistic will give you a good idea of how many freshman students return after their first year at the college. This information can be found on college websites and must be made available to you if you ask for it .
What Are the Costs?
How will your family be paying tuition and other expenses? If your student-athlete is not offered scholarship money during their freshman year what will be the chances of gaining some the following year once they have proven themselves both academically and athletically? Make sure to meet with college financial aid advisers to discuss your family options.
Will your son or daughter be living on or off campus? Have your child ask current athletes where they prefer to live and why.
Keep on Track
Encourage your child to take notes on specifics things they like or don’t like about each college. The goal is for them to realize and make the final decision on the college that is best suited for them.
Support Their Decision
If your child has come to the final decision making point congratulate them on doing the research and making a decision. The final decision is never easy–that is why your child will need your reassurance.