8 Questions Parents Should Ask During an Official Visit



While parents are encouraged to let their student-athlete take the lead when communicating with college coaches, there are times when it’s acceptable for parents to play an active role in the conversation. One of those times is during an official visit to the college campus and parents should come prepared with a list of questions to ask.

Here are 8 questions parents should ask college coaches that will help them evaluate whether or not the program meets their athlete’s needs and wants:

What does a day, week or year in the life of one of your student-athletes look like?

Asking this allows families to gain an understanding of how rigorous a program’s academic and athletic standards are, how often the team practices, and how much travel is involved during school time and holiday breaks.

What types of on/off campus activities are available to athletes?

Each division level requires a different level of commitment, which impacts how much free time an athlete will have during their four years. While D1 and D2 programs require more time commitment, D3 and NAIA programs offer athletes a chance to explore other extracurricular interests, obtain a part-time job or internship and even study abroad.

What type of academic support do athletes receive?

Maintaining a strong GPA is necessary for athletes to remain eligible to compete throughout their four years. Some schools also offer additional services for student-athletes, including mandatory or recommended study hours, academic advisors and tutors and even support from professors to make up work they missed while traveling or competing with their team.

What are the housing accommodations like?

Do students have to live on campus for at least one years? What are the dorms likes? How many students live on and off campus? Is there housing available exclusively for student-athletes? If not, do most athletes tend to live together or do they comingle with the regular student body? Knowing what to expect when it comes to housing can play a key role in whether an athlete likes a school or not.

What is the college doing to create a safe campus?

Parents want to know that their child will be safe on campus, especially when most will be away from home for the first time. Ask questions about campus safety and security – does the school have security or police officers stationed on campus? How does the school communicate with students during emergencies? Are there transportation services offered for late nights or off-campus activities?

What happens if the athlete gets injured?

It’s important to be prepared for worst case scenarios, such as your athlete getting injured. While the NCAA requires college athletes to have healthcare insurance, schools are not obligated to pay for an athlete’s medical expenses, and it’s not uncommon for parents to have to cover part or all the out-of-pocket costs. If the coach has brought up the possibility of an athletic scholarship, it’s ok to discuss whether that scholarship will still apply if they’re out for part or the entire season.

What about costs and financial aid packages?

Parents should never ask about scholarships until a coach has expressed an offer. Start by asking what type of expenses players must cover, such as uniforms, equipment or the cost of team trips. Once an offer has been made, then you can ask specifics and even negotiate.  

What are the next steps?

No matter where an athlete is in the recruiting process, it’s important for parents to know what to expect and what to do next. Will there be any follow-up visits or appointments? What paperwork or admissions-related materials do families have to prepare or fill out? Are there any important or upcoming deadlines to be aware of?