Handling the Pressure of Decision Deadlines

By Rick Paine

Hopefully most of you seniors are starting to feel some pressure to pick a school. Pressure can be a good thing because it means that you have options. You have taken an official recruiting trip to one of your favorite schools so now what happens?

As soon as you get home you should send a thank you email to the coaches and your student host. Preferable you will send a hand written thank you card as well. It takes a lot of work to host a recruit so a heart felt thank you is in order.

You should sit down with your parents and your coach and go over your notes about the school and swim program.

The college coach will be talking with their swimmers to get an idea of what they thought of you and if you would fit in on the team.

They will most likely meet with their assistant coaches to determine how much scholarship they will offer you. The coach calls you with a scholarship offer.

What you SHOULD do:

- Write down the offer - Thank the coach for the offer and ask how much it will cost for you to attend their school and let the coach know that you will have to talk it over with your parents. - Talk with your parents and your coach about the offer. - Keep in mind that the first offer may not always the best offer so you may be able to negotiate.

What you should NOT do:

- Do NOT ask for a deadline to decide on the offer. It is easy to be flattered by a scholarship offer and right away ask the coach when you must decide. Don’t do it. Once you have a deadline, then the pressure really begins. A deadline may not allow you to visit other schools and the “take it or leave it by Friday” offer from a coach can cause a lot of extra stress. Most, but not all coaches will eventually give you a deadline to decide. Rarely do they spend the money on someone else before they let you know that you need to decide. It does happen though. Sometimes a coach will tell you that they are making the offer to several recruits and the first one who decides will get the money. If a coach makes you an offer and says you need to decide soon, don’t ask what “soon” means. There will come a point when you will need to ask when you have to decide by, but hold off on asking that question for as long as possible. Yes there are horror stories about coaches making an offer to a recruit and then giving it to someone else without letting the first recruit know. Don’t accept the offer on the spot. You need to speak with your parents and you might be able to negotiate a better offer.

Give yourself a pat on the back. Deciding on scholarship offers is a nice problem to have.