The decision to pursue a collegiate lacrosse career is a big one. One thing you need to very aware of about the process is that it is not just about you and your skills. In previous posts, we have talked a lot about what you need to do to prepare yourself for college lacrosse.
However, there are other people you need to involve early and often in the process besides your coaches and the college recruiters. Who? Your parents.
Your parents have been supporting your lacrosse career for many, many years. That likely includes significant investments in equipment, training, club teams, and possibly lots of travel.
As you consider college lacrosse, you need to bring them into the process early. So, we’re going to address this topic from both perspectives; the player and the parent.
A Player’s Perspective
As we have discussed you need to take charge of your overall recruiting process. No doubt, your parents will be a big asset to you during this process.
First, it is critically important you sit with your parents and have an honest dialogue about your college lacrosse plans. While you need to own the process, a discussion about which schools you are interested in is very important. Probably the most challenging and difficult discussion is honestly assessing school’s where you can realistically play and be recruited.
Making a short list of school’s is part of your recruiting framework. However, as you know, college is not cheap. You need to have an honest conversation with your parents about which schools your family can realistically afford.
What are the financial ramifications of attending certain schools, especially private universities? Can your family afford it? Will student loans be necessary? Do you truly understand the responsibility of repaying these loans after graduation?
Unless your family is blessed with significant financial resources, you need to have this conversation early in the process so you do not waste time pursuing schools that are not financially viable. This discussion will help narrow the schools that become part of your ‘right fit’ list.
Remember, being a student-athlete is a big commitment. You will be managing a demanding academic schedule and lacrosse that will consume an enormous amount of your time. Balancing these two is not easy. However, your parent will likely be on the hook for a big tuition bill. Make sure you and your parents have realistic expectations about what you can afford for college.
Finally, this is your decision. Some students may feel pressured by their parents to live the Division 1 dream. It may not be for everyone. Don’t make the decision your parents want – this is your life, your college decision. Be honest about your desires.
A Parent’s Perspective
Let’s face it, you’re extremely excited and proud your child is good enough to play lacrosse in college. Frankly, it makes all those years chasing the dream in youth leagues, summer clubs, and high school worth it.
There are two major things you need to come to grips with; 1) your ability to pay for college and 2) the reality that college coaches will look at your child’s skill via a different lens that you will.
The first issue is somewhat easy to determine – either you can or cannot afford certain schools. You need to be realistic and honest with your child about your financial ability to afford schools. The good news is there are many avenues to seek financial support such as academic grants, FAFSA, and local scholarship programs.
Contact your school guidance counselor for more information on these options. Remember, the NCAA limits the number of athletic scholarships available for Division1 lacrosse to 12.6 scholarships usually on a roster of 40 players. Let’s face it, that’s not a lot of money to go around. Find other sources to help funds your college career.
The second issue is a little harder to come to grips with. It’s your child and you want the best for them. But you have to realize college lacrosse is extremely competitive. No matter how good you believe your child is, not everyone is destined for the top Division 1 programs. College recruiters are swamped with emails, player highlight films, summer recruiting tournaments, and calls from high school or club coaches trying to get their players on a recruiter’s radar.
The reality is every high school player (and probably the parents too) have visions of playing at the top schools. Only a few make it. Don’t be discourage – just be ready to accept the fact that not everyone ends up at their dream school. This is a tough reality for some parents.
Where parents can really add value during this process is to help your child focus on the benefits of playing college lacrosse regardless of the level of competition. You’re your child understand the decision to play college lacrosse can set in motion experiences and friendships that will last a lifetime.
They need to enjoy it! Help them understand they will learn values that will be foundational in their life such as commitment, sacrifice, hard work, dedication, and achievement. Remember once they graduate, they most likely are not turning professional.
It’s about enjoying the lacrosse experience. Be realistic about the college opportunities that are ‘the right fit’ and balance needed to ensure your child will have a great college experience.