The NCAA college soccer recruiting process can certainly be confusing to student-athletes and their families as they look for schools that fit their needs academically, financially, geographically, and athletically. And with each D3 school being slightly different from another, there are subtle differences in the process for each school. As the parent of a potential student-athlete at the NCAA D3 college level, what can you do to help in this process?
Recruiting 101 recently had an excellent article on this topic as well entitled “I Am A Parent Who Feels Completely Helpless During The Athletic Recruiting Process. What Can I Do And What Should I Do?” To see the full article, go to this link. In today’s post, we will look at it from a D3 recruiting perspective.
First and foremost be a supportive parent. For student-athletes, the college selection process can be an extremely stressful time. It can also be an emotional roller coaster of ups and downs; getting accepted to one school, not getting accepted to another. All the while having your friends and/or teammates going through the same process. It can be very draining to both parent and student-athlete. However, be supportive throughout the whole process and let them know that you are there to help them get through it.
Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can help fund a college education. With the cost of higher education continuing to skyrocket and more college students taking on excessive amounts of debt to fund their education, any contributions from parents (and extended family) will greatly help reduce the financial burden of attending college. As parents, if you can save money for your student-athlete(s) to help fund their college education, it opens up more opportunities for them educationally. Nearly every state has a 529 plan available for parents to invest in and like most investments, it pays to invest early.
Since D3 institutions don’t offer athletic scholarships, money is only coming from academic awards, loans, work study and family contributions. Do you as a parent want your son/daughter to have $100,000 in college loans to pay when they graduate or can you as a parent save money to help defray those costs? This leads us to…
The Sermon on the Amount
Each college or university comes with its own price tag of tuition, room, board, fees, books, and other expenses. Some are more expensive than others. Most private institutions tend to have a higher price tag than publicly funded state schools. There will be trade offs in terms of size and resources that need to be considered as well. However, in terms of dollars, you will need to sit down with your student-athlete and explain to them how much money you have to contribute to their education, how much money they are expected to contribute, and, based on that, which schools that are realistically affordable.
Moreover, you need to talk to them about where the money is coming from. Do you have cash available? Will you take out loans on their behalf? Do you expect your son/daughter to pay you back after graduation? Or is the entire financial burden going to fall on them?
Be Realistic with Your Student-Athlete
Too many parents are so enamored with their own children, that they have a tough time seeing the limitations and shortcomings that they have. Take off the rose-colored glasses and realize that your student-athlete is not getting that D1 or D2 soccer scholarship. You have to look objectively and think “Are they good enough to play D3 collegiate soccer?”
The level of play across college soccer continues to improve and become more competitive. There is a chance that your son/daughter might not make the team! Roughly 10% of high school soccer players go on play NCAA college soccer at D1, D2 or D3. As a parent, you need to help prepare them and be realistic with them about making that jump from high school to college. Are they going to go from high school starter to college bench warmer? How is that going to affect them psychologically and emotionally? Is it going to affect them in the classroom?
In our next post, we will continue with more things that parents can do to help their student-athletes through the recruiting process. Thanks for reading!
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