College Recruiting: How to Approach the First Phone Call

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

By Kate Santilena, Swimming World College Intern.

Whether you are a well-known extrovert and can make a whole crowd of your friends laugh hysterically or you are more of an introvert and like that precious alone time, recruiting calls can be some nerve-racking experiences. To help with those nerves, it is always good to be prepared – especially for that very first phone call with a coach.

Here are some helpful tips when preparing for that first conversation with a college coach.

Pre-plan your Questions

List of Questions

Photo Courtesy: Kate Santilena

During the hubbub of the pre-recruiting process, it is easy to get mixed up on what school does what or has what. Grab that old-fashioned pen and paper and write some things down! When approaching each conversation, come with pre-planned questions that will help the following: keeps you organized for the next time, allows you to put forth thoughtful questions, and makes sure you do not forget what you want to ask throughout the conversation. With a little planning, this helps for a smoother conversation and gives us a chance to look back when it comes down to making that big decision on which school we would like to attend.

For more questions to ask college recruiters, click here.

Step into the Ring Prepared

Talk to coach

Photo Courtesy: Matt Holland

The first phone call with potential recruits more often than not is centered around the basics of a school. Skip the majority of this small talk by knowing the basics of the school already! Plus, it is impressive when you make it well known that you have already done your research. This also gives you the opportunity to get right into the nitty gritty of what you really want to know about the school and swimming program.

Throw Up a Do Not Disturb Sign

Beach Studying

Photo Courtesy: Dan Worden

Most of the time we pride ourselves on our ability to multitask, but the first recruiting phone call should not be one of those times. It’s important to focus and stay engaged in the conversation without checking our Instagram or E-mails while we talk. It’s very obvious that your focus was divided when you ask a question that the coach already answered because you were messaging a friend about grabbing fro-yo later that night. To avoid this, move to a quiet place with minimal distractions and concentrate with those pre-planned questions by your side, of course.

Phone a Friend


Photo Courtesy: Kevin McCarthy

After discovering a school you are interested in, it helps to gain the perspective of someone who is going through what you are about to experience. Before hanging up the phone, ask the coach if there is a swimmer on the team you can contact and ask some questions. If anyone will give you the true low-down about the a team or university, it is an actual current team member. You can always reach out on Facebook or other social media platforms, but when a coach recommends someone, there is an even better chance that person will respond to your friend request since they got a heads up from their coach.

Confidence is Key

UH Swimmer on the blocks

Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

You’re prepared for this. Remember – a coach is just another human being, so talk to them as such. Stay engaged in the conversation, listen and focus on the task at hand, and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Just like anyone else you talk to, a coach will know if you are interested by how much you interact with them and through the enthusiasm in your voice. There is nothing more dull than a robotic conversation, so don’t make it one! Take a deep breath and remember the coach is interested in recruiting you. Take pride in that and have fun!

Whether you are an extroverted or introverted person, doing the preparation work will always make any process easier, including the first phone call with a college coach. Searching for colleges and looking towards your future is an exciting time. As nerve-racking as it may be, enjoy the once in a lifetime process and make the most of it!

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

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4 years ago

Kyle Brown