Questions Parents Ask College Coaches
Formulating questions to ask college coaches is a very important and individual process. Not every question fits every situation, every family, every coach, or every program.
The first step is to find out what your daughter’s non-negotiables are. Non-negotiables are the things that matter most to her. They are the factors that will bring your daughter the most happiness in college.
For example, if your daughter wants to play right away, you can form questions to help figure out which programs she has a better chance of playing at immediately. Non-negotiables are personal to each individual.
When you know what is truly important to your daughter, it is easier to come up with the questions. If she doesn't know what her most important factors are in choosing a college, then the first step would be to help her discover them.
Parents also have priorities when thinking about their child going to college. This is important and normal. As long as the parent priorities don’t overshadow the student athletes' non-negotiables, a parent's criteria and questions become very important as the time draws nearer to narrowing the college choices.
Your Child’s Non-Negotiables
Start with these. Whatever is most important to your child, those are the questions that should be prioritized as most important.
If we use the example above, where the athlete wants to play right away, a parent could ask the college coaches some of the following questions:
- How do you see my daughter fitting into your program?
- Do you envision her getting playing time early in her college career or later?
- What are some things that would determine her getting more playing time early in her career?
You may also be able to form your own questions around this topic. It is definitely less complicated when you have a conversation with your daughter about what is most important to her.
Other Categories and Examples
As you travel through the recruiting process with your daughter, you will think of questions to ask organically. In an effort to help parents begin to formulate questions to ask college coaches, here are some basic categories and examples to consider.
Parents usually have safety as a high priority. Questions around safety may be different for different campuses, but here are some examples:
- What are your safety precautions for the campus, the dorms, and for travel?
- Is this a campus where the student-athletes stay in dorms when the campus is closed for holidays?
- Will my daughter be staying in one of those dorms?
- What are some of her options to get around campus for night classes?
- What is the campus crime rate?
- What is the crime rate in the surrounding community?
Depending on what your daughter wants to study in college, she’ll have different opportunities and obstacles when it comes to balancing athletics and academics. Below are some questions you might feel comfortable asking:
- What is the reputation of the area of study my daughter wants to pursue?
- How understanding are the professors when student-athletes have to travel and miss classes?
- What does a typical day look like during a student athlete's season?
- What types of internships are available to her? Do some match her major area of study?
- What is the process if she is struggling in a class?
- Do you have a study hall for student-athletes? How does it work?
You want to make sure your daughter has medical access no matter where she attends college. Medical care will differ for each program and campus. Here are some things to ask:
- If my daughter needs to see a doctor, how does that work?
- If my daughter gets injured in practice or games, how does that work?
- Do you have athletic insurance or will she still be on my insurance?
- Are the team doctors on campus or off campus?
- What is the COVID protocol on campus?
- What medical costs would I be responsible for?
- What happens if my daughter has a career-ending injury? Will you honor her scholarship?
If your daughter has had a medical injury, you may want to ask questions about the support of that injury. For instance, if your daughter has had a knee injury in the past, you may want to ask questions about continued care for the knee.
Costs Not Covered
College costs money regardless of receiving financial aid. Sometimes college coaches, trainers, and academic personnel forget to mention the costs that are not covered by the athletic department or the financial aid provided. Here are some questions to ask:
- What costs, not covered by the scholarship offer, will our family have to pick up?
- Can you break down the financial aid package or scholarship offer so I can see the numbers?
- Will my daughter have to buy her own books or school supplies?
- Does the offer cover the room and board, or will my daughter have to pay rent? (When she moves out of the dorms?)
- What other forms of financial aid are available to my daughter?
- Can she work and play sports to help cover some of her costs? Examples?
- Do you have anything set up for the athletes to learn about Name, Image, and Likeness
Depending on location, level of play, and conference, travel can be very different. The following questions may apply to your situation:
- What will my daughter be responsible for when the team travels? Meals? Hotel?
- Will my daughter ever be alone in hotel rooms or unsupervised on road trips?
- Can you explain how travel works? Can I see a typical itinerary?
- How much class will my daughter miss because of travel?
- Will she ever need a passport?
Coaching Staff Questions
For coaching questions, one size does not fit all. However, it is important to find out if you feel this coaching staff will be good for your daughter. In other words, do you feel these coaches will take care of your daughter and help her graduate? Referring back to her non-negotiables, and understanding what her dreams are will help create questions to find out more about the coaches.
You want to trust these individuals with your daughter, so asking questions to all of the coaches, and even asking the same questions to different coaches, could help you understand and better evaluate the coaching staff.
- What is the support structure for my daughter if she gets homesick?
- What opportunities will this coaching staff present to help my daughter get connected beyond her sport?
- What is the percentage of graduates who leave your college with a job lined up?
- What is the graduation rate for your program? (Percentage of athletes who graduate)
- How many transfers have there been in the past 3 years? Why have athletes transferred?
- What is your coaching philosophy? What is important to you?
- How do you discipline your athletes?
- How much time do you have on your contract? Is it a multi-year contract?
- Do assistant coaches have multi-year contracts?
There are many, many more questions that you will discover as you travel through the recruiting journey with your daughter in an effort to help her narrow down her list. If you need more help formulating questions, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.