Let’s paint a picture real quick. You’re an elite athlete and you having a great season. You’ve always had dreams of play in the NCAA, but you don’t know if your talented enough to play collegiate athletics. One day, out of the blue, you receive a phone call and your dreams come true. It’s from a college coach that’s recruiting you to their school. You’re struck with so much excitement that you start to panic because of one reason: you have no idea what questions to ask college coaches that are calling you.
First things first, you need to make sure you make a good first impression. Until you are sign a letter of intent, you need to treat every conversation that you have with college coaches as a job interview. The recruiting process is an opportunity to become familiar with each coach and the program that they run so that you can make an educated and informed decision on which school is the best fit for you.
In order to make an educated decision, you need to understand which questions are the right ones to ask so that you can obtain all of the information you need to make the best decision possible. You will only have a finite amount of time speaking with each coach thats recruiting you. So, you’ll have to go with the answers they’ve provided as well as your gut feeling to determine which school is the best for you.
Some Key Tips To Know About The Recruiting Process:
- No two conversations with any coach will be identical
- You will know what types of questions to ask college coaches as your conversations with them develop
- Study about the school, the coach and their athletic program as much possible so that you’re prepared
- You’re going to be both NERVOUS and EXCITED, so have a list of 15 questions handy (on a piece of paper or in your phone) to ask them at any given time.
- Don’t bring up scholarships in your initial conversation and save all questions about scholarships until the END OF THE PROCESS.
- Don’t waste time on questions that you know the answer to. This is where homework comes into play. If you know a significant amount of information about the school as opposed to the coach & the program, or vice versa, make sure that you have questions ready so that obtain the most amount of information in areas that you’re lacking.
- Never be afraid to ask coaches about themselves and what they value. When you get coaches talking about themselves, it leaves you a greater opportunity to leave a good impression. It’s natural human nature to feel good when discussing what we value in life, so let them tell you and make sure that you’re listening to what they say.
Keep those tips in mind before you start thinking about questions to ask college coaches throughout the recruiting process. Always understand that your questions will determine whether or not you obtain the information you want, so make sure that you make a list of key questions that you want answered. That way, you will be well prepared when the time to ask questions arrives.
We have provided some guidelines below of some sample questions to ask college coaches in five different sections: academic questions, athletic questions, campus life questions, program questions, and financial questions.
Academic Questions To Ask College Coaches
- What are the academic requirements needed for admissions?
- I’m interest in studying (insert major). Does your school offer that major?
- What is the most popular major amongst the players on the team?
- What’s the minimum GPA that you require to play?
- Is there an opportunity to take classes during the summer/winter break?
- Are there advisors and other resources available for academic help if I need it?
- What is the graduation rate amongst your players?
- What information do you need to have for my application?
Athletic Questions To Ask College Coaches
- Has your coaching staff evaluated me?
- Where do I fit on your recruiting board?
- Have you offered scholarships to others in my class? At my position?
- Have any other athletes in my class accepted the offers?
- How many players will you be recruiting at my position?
- Where will you be recruiting this season / spring / summer?
- What types of off-season activities are expected?
- What does the training program consist of at your school?
- What is your recruiting timeline?
- Is there a good time to come visit your school?
Campus Life Questions To Ask College Coaches
- What’s the campus life like?
- Are there a lot of events to go to on campus?
- What’s the dorm & housing situation like for your players?
- Do your players live on campus all four years or do they move off of campus?
- Do freshman teammates live together or am I placed with a random student?
- How many students live on campus?
- Do players stay around in the summer or do they go home?
- What is a typical day like for your players?
Program Questions To Ask College Coaches
- What’s the team atmosphere like?
- What is your style of coaching?
- What our your facilities like?
- How is the strength training staff?
- What type of food do you have for training table?
- How often do the players have film sessions?
- Are there any other additional resources that players use to improve?
- What is the team’s typical practice schedule like?
- How do you travel to away games?
- What traits would I need to be successful in your program?
- What is the trait that you value most in your players?
- What is your team’s identity/What’s your coaching style?
- Do you plan on staying with this program until I graduate?
Financial Questions To Ask College Coaches
- How many scholarships do you have available and am I being considered for one?
- Note: Tread lightly when asking about this and don’t push the envelope.
- What are the opportunities for academic scholarships at your school?
- What are the opportunities for applying for grants and financial aid?
- Have you offered a walk-on player a scholarship as they moved through the program?
- Do walk-on players have other additional opportunities for decreasing their tuition?
- What happens to my scholarship if I were to suffer from an injury?
- I see that your tuition is X, but I was wondering if you knew what kind of financial packages walk-ons athletes usually receive?
And finally, some VERY Important Final Questions
Since you have them on the phone or in person, you want to ask them what they would like the next steps to be in the recruiting process. Your conversation can go many directions after speaking with a college coach. However, the last thing that you want to do is hang up the phone and feel like you’re “up in the air” with everything.
Uncertainty can play with your mind and emotions, and its not out of the norm to ask a coach that is recruiting you what the next steps may be. So, your final questions should be along the lines of:
- What would be the next steps in the process?
- How would you prefer for me to contact you next?
- Do you need any additional information about me (transcripts/SAT Score/ACT Score/Etc)?
By the end of the conversation with each coach, you want to aim to achieve three things:
- Understand their interest level & your potential opportunity with them
- What their program is all about
- How the process is going to continue moving forward
Hopefully you leave each conversation with a clearer picture on your opportunity with each school and whether or not you’re going to move forward with them in the recruiting process. When compiling your list of questions to ask college coaches, just keep in mind that you want to ask questions that will get the answers that YOU NEED in order to make the best decision possible.
The list isn’t etched in stone – its nearly a guideline for you to get started and have your creative juices flowing on what you want to know about each school. Once you gather all of the necessary information, you need to make a list of pros and cons for every school in each of the five criteria.
Just keep in mind that the entire recruiting process doesn’t happen overnight. Its usually very long and it can cause you to do mental gymnastics. The important thing to keep in mind is that its never too early to start gathering information about the schools you’re interested in. When you’re prepared, you will be ahead of the curve on your competition and set yourself up for success down the road.