In our last post “Visiting Campus“, we discussed the process of taking an official overnight visit to a college campus. We highly recommend student-athletes looking at NCAA Division III colleges and universities take an official overnight visit to at least one school so they can find that college that is the best fit for them. There is no better way to do this than to be on campus with the current players, other recruits and experience things first hand.
Recently, Recruiting-101.com had an article on the parent’s role in the official visit. (Please see the article What happens on a football official visit from the eyes of the parents of an athlete). There they describe a BCS football player taking an official visit to a college with his parents and the parents’ accounting of the event.
Obviously, BCS football does not compare to NCAA Division III soccer, however recruiting student-athletes at all levels has many similarities and the involvement of the parents is important. So what should the parents be doing during an official visit? As a parent, first and foremost, you should be concerned about your child’s well being and making sure that they are safe and always being there to support your child.
Assured of that, we believe that parents need to take a bit of a step back at this point and let their children spread their wings as it were. The student-athlete needs to experience college life on their own as an individual, not with Mom and Dad hovering over them while visiting campus. There will be certain times during the visit (meeting with coaches, meeting with players, meals, etc.) when parents and their children are together, and that is fine, but parents need to make sure that they leave enough space for their child to get out on their own to get the full experience.
After all, one of the biggest aspects of going away to college is for a student-athlete to learn to live away from home without Mom or Dad taking care of every need. Learning some independence and how to manage on their own is crucial for student-athletes when they transition from high-school to college and probably one of the hardest things for many to adjust to.
Now does that mean that parents just dump and run for the official visit? Certainly not. Stay involved and engaged with the coaches and other student-athletes. Ask questions of them. Encourage your child to ask questions. If you have been through the process before with an older child, you should know what questions to ask.
The bottom line is this— When going on the official visit, you as a parent have to walk that fine line of knowing how much involvement is enough. You and your child want to get a feel for a school that it is the right fit for you all of you, so don’t do that by being over bearing or overly protective. Balance being involved with providing enough space for your child to experience growth on their own. It should serve everyone best.
Questions? Comments? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!