12 Questions You Should Ask College Recruiters

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Photo Courtesy: Rachel Lanam

By: Ashley Illenye, Swimming World Magazine Intern

In just a few months, incoming high school seniors will have to make one of the biggest decisions of their young adult life: where they will spend the next four years of their lives and educations. Recruiting trips in the fall primarily decide where swimmers will decide, but there is a process put in place before they even step foot on campus.

It is the college recruiter’s, typically a member of the coaching staff, responsibility to entice the swimmer into taking a trip by framing the school in the best possible light. It’s the duty of the swimmer to ask the right questions to know if the school in question is a right fight for the swimmer.

Questions About Academics:


Photo Courtesy: Courtney Collett

  1. How big is the university?

Schools like Bucknell have about 3,500 kids, which is as big as some current high schools. Texas A&M Univeristy has about 58,500 students which could fill Yankee Stadium. If you’re looking for a small, tight knit college experience or never want to see the same face on campus twice, you’ll want the coach you’re communicating with to tell you if you’ll find what your looking for in said institution.

  1. What is the teacher/student ratio?

A 15/1 student/teacher ratio is considered small, so most classes would range from 20-40 students with big lecture-hall-type classes being a rarity. If you’re looking for that 100-200 people per class in that college dream experience, aim for a school with a larger population and more disproportionate ratio.

  1. How will I receive academic support as a student athlete?

Different types of academic aid schools offer can be in their academic advisors catered to student athletes, fellow student-athletes as tutors and mandatory study hall hours. There are other resources that may be offered by your university of choice that are available to non-athletes.

  1. How is the program for my major/Do they have my major?

Some majors vary to vary by school. For instance, one school may offer a Political Science while another offers Government. While this might not be a deal breaker, if your school has a weak liberal arts program and is more known for engineering or business, that might be. At the end of four years, students are coming out with a degree that will decide their future career path.

  1. What is the team GPA?

Are you expecting to contribute to the team GPA? Is there a certain limit you don’t want to be under? Do you want to be on a team that’s NCAA swimming recognized? Team GPA is one attribute that tells prospective students how the team values academics.

Questions About Swimming:


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

  1. How do you think I would fit in on the team?

There’s about 3 spaces that you could fit on a given team. There’s the bottom, hoping that you can earn a scoring spot after hard work over a few years. There’s the middle, where you could be closer to the top in your best events and closer to the bottom in the rest. Then, there’s the top of the pack. Whatever you’re comfortable with going into your first year is hopefully what the recruiter tells you you’ll be contributing.

  1. Do I have a chance of making the conference team?

Conferences can have about 20 spots, in some conferences where swimming and diving is in one competition, two or three divers may take one spot. Roster spots can exceed 10 spots passed the conference team alone. To some, not making the conference team might be a deal breaker. To others, it’s something to strive toward.

  1. If I didn’t, what would my end of the season meet be?

There are several options for swimmers that are outside the 20 or so athletes that are selected to compete in their respective conferences. Some conferences, like the Atlantic 10, allows schools to bring several swimmers outside the ones that score points. Others go to another invitational. Some allow swimmers to suit up during their last dual meet.

  1. What type of training do you focus on?

Is the head coach at the school you’re communicating with known for culminating exceptional 200 butterfliers? Does the distance program produce 5/8 A finalists at conferences? Has the 400-free relay gone undefeated in 6 years? The part of the program that is the most appealing should showcase your strengths.

Questions About Finances:


Photo Courtesy: Daniel Plantamura

  1. How much is the average financial aid package?

The average 2016 college student graduated with $37,172 in student debt. That number was up six percent from the year before. The fact is, students do go to school for the academics and athletics, but one of the main questions, particularly from their parents, is affordability. It’s rare for a student to receive a full ride, so they should know how much the school usually gives middle income families.

  1. Are there athletic scholarships available, and if so do I qualify for one?

Division III, ivy league schools and select other institutions don’t give out athletic scholarships. However, there are even more schools that do offer scholarships. As finances are an important question, don’t feel shy about potential scholarship opportunity.

  1. What are my chances of getting an academic scholarship?

Schools usually have a system based off SAT scores, GPA or both to decide who qualifies for an academic scholarship. These three questions about finances round out letting a student know if the school in question is affordable for them and their family.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.


  1. Ernest Tiberino

    #3, #9, and training and medical support are critical. Alicia Tiberino