Going to College Archive

What Is a Parent’s Role During a Campus Visit?

Learn strategies to help your child make a positive impression.

As parents help their child through the recruiting process, they should always be sure to offer guidance with respect to campus visits. Campus visits (unofficial or official) are valuable opportunities for prospective student-athletes to make a positive impression with the head coach, assistant coach, golf team members, and athletic staff. Taking steps to prepare your son or daughter to approach these personal meetings in the most effective way can heighten the interest of a coach and potentially improve your child’s position on a coach’s recruiting list.

From my experience as a Division I head coach, I can confidently say that my best visits involved prospects who were informed, inquisitive, and assertive. These prospects took “center stage” during our time together, and their parents took a supportive role. Achieving this presentation style during a campus visit isn’t always easy, but the following suggestions can help you and your child “get it right” during your next campus visit.

  • Research your audience – Before meeting with a college coach, encourage your child to research the school and golf program online. Coaches want to feel that your child has taken time to learn about their background, the golf program, and the school’s academic offerings.
  • Dress for success – Having a professional appearance is crucial when making a first impression. Tell your child to wear nice golf apparel (or even business casual attire) and to be properly groomed.
  • Prepare insightful questions – Talk to your child about questions he should ask the coach. (Read Going To College article, “What Questions Should I Ask a College Coach During a Campus Visit?”) Appropriate topics to inquire about include team training methods, the qualifying system, academic support, and the coach’s current recruiting status (for your child’s graduating class). Coaches expect that your child will ask questions.
  • Prepare for questions that the coach may ask – Coaches will want to know about your child’s academic/athletic goals, strengths and weaknesses, and practice strategies, to name a few areas of focus. (Read Going To College article, “What Questions Should I Be Prepared To Answer During a Campus Visit?”) Help your child develop “mission-oriented” answers as this will show the coach that a detailed plan for improvement has been thought out.
  • Allow your child to take center stage – Be sure your child understands the importance of showing initiative and enthusiasm during the visit. Confidently leading the introductions and conversation with the coach are key ways for your child to accomplish this goal.
  • Adopt a supportive role – Throughout the campus visit, parents should never dominate the conversation, but should simply make comments or ask questions for clarification.
  • Try to give “one-on-one” time – If a meeting with a coach will last for more than an hour, parents should excuse themselves for a portion of the meeting to give their child some one-on-one time with the coach.
  • Tell your child they don’t have to be perfect – Coaches are not expecting perfection during campus meetings. Every prospect has strengths and weaknesses, and coaches are most interested in hearing about your child’s mission for improvement.
  • Assist with final questions – Parents can certainly ask a coach any remaining questions that their child may not have mentioned. Also, be sure to have your son or daughter ask if the coach requires any additional information.
  • Say thank you – Remind your child to show their appreciation for the coach’s time and interest. Suggesting that your child send the coach a hand-written thank you note can be a nice touch as well.

In a very competitive recruiting marketplace, properly handled campus visits can definitely help strengthen your child’s position as a prospective student-athlete. Campus visits are an essential self-promotion strategy in the recruiting process, and utilizing these recommendations will enable you to more confidently prepare your junior golfer to pursue college opportunities in the best way.

nicky goetze

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