Ivy League Athletic Recruiting Q&A – Part 2

We may spend the majority of time on Recruiting-101 focusing on football recruiting (and basketball recruiting to an extent) but that doesn’t mean all of our readers have children who are star football players.  I have had an opportunity to email with a mother who has a son that plays water polo.  She followed the advice of this site and focused on doing everything she could to help her son get the best education possible while also continuing his career athletically. 

When everything was said and done, what their entire family did helped open the door for him to play water polo at an Ivy League school.  Since the Ivy League is such a sought after conference to get your son or daughter into, we thought it would make a good Q&A about what she went through and how the family did it.  Click here for Part One now!

How much do you feel getting an Ivy League education will benefit your son years down the line?
I think (his eventual choice), the students who go there, and the combination of sports and academics are a perfect fit for my son who is serious, a great student and a great athlete. I believe he will thrive in the Ivy environment and be part of a great tradition and network of alumni. 

However, I always say it isn’t where you go it’s what you do with where you go. You can get a great education, discover the perfect major and find a career anywhere and on the contrary, we know lots of Southern California kids who graduate from Stanford and the UCs who end up surfing and hanging out, living at home after college. 

Your son plays a sport that we have never written an article on Recruiting-101 about. How did you use the site if the article was related to football? 
I think about 80% of the Recruiting-101 articles are applicable to any sport, including water polo which my son plays, and cross country/track and field which my daughter is now being recruited for. I tell all my sports parents about your site – that daily e-mail kept me on track!

What was the hardest part of the recruiting process? And were all coaches honest with you during the process? 
I think the hardest part was not knowing where my son stood in the list at each college, and not knowing if he was being “led on”. Now, in retrospect, and as I go through this process with my daughter in another sport, I think we were being told the truth by everyone – even the coaches who encouraged my son, met with him, but never told him they were recruiting him. They weren’t! I’m actually a big believer in this system, and I understand it is different for each school, but we’ve had a great experience.

Did any coaches use negative recruiting? 
Not only did they NOT use negative recruiting, I found the coaches my son talked to and the (larger) set of coaches that my daughter is talking to try to avoid talking about other schools. I told my husband that it reminds me of the old saying when I worked for IBM “Never disparage the competition”. We have taken that lead, and we don’t talk about other schools with coaches either.

Were you surprised about what schools were recruiting him and which ones were not?
I would say that the schools that he was most interested in (tip top academic schools) and best qualified to attend and play for, recruited him, and the others lost interest which worked out fine.

How much did Recruiting 101 help you in the process? 
I quote you all the time – still!! I told my daughter the other day to enjoy the process “you may never be this popular again” as you said in one article! I also use Recruiting 101 to answer questions from other parents – I tell them to go on and subscribe to your e-mail blast!

With your daughter starting the recruiting process in yet another sport, are you going to change anything that you did to help her in the eyes of college coaches?
Well that is a very current question because we just passed the July 1 date with my daughter who is very highly ranked Track and Field runner. She is also a great student, looking at the tip top academic/athletic combination schools. She is in the lucky position of being heavily recruited by about 25 schools. I recently said, “this must be what Recruiting 101 means when they talk about heavy recruiting attention!”. She has had to confine her phone calls to mostly Sunday afternoons like you suggested in an article!

We have taken your advice and just went on unofficial visits to meet with coaches at 4 east coast schools, and 2 on the west coast. Those visits helped my daughter narrow her list to her top 3. Now, because of the experience we had with my son, she is beginning to work on completing the Common Application and the supplements at her top 3 so she will be ready to submit applications when she needs to.

What specific advice do you have for families hoping to get their son or daughter into an Ivy League school? 
#1 Keep grades and SAT scores in mind as your son or daughter builds their academic credentials. Those numbers have to be very high for admission to an Ivy and coaches have very little control or leeway in the process. 

#2 If you think your child is a candidate you must head up the effort to contact the schools, send regular updates, and enroll your child in the appropriate sports camps. Your student/athlete is too busy with school and sports to do the paperwork required so this has to be a parent/student team project. 

#3 I always say my job is to keep “wind under their wings” with encouragement, support and cheering from the sidelines! Be positive, keep working toward the goal, and something good will happen!

A special thanks to this mother for her help in the Q&A. 

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