When it comes to the college recruitment process, there is real power in the art of the question. Asking the right questions during your relatively limited interactions with representatives of a college soccer program can work wonders in guiding you to finding the best fit, and in some cases can help you steer clear of a potentially negative situation altogether.

Questions are a fundamental part of the recruiting process and will help college athletes not just understand the colleges they are looking at, but also what they are personally looking for, both on and off of the field. Engaging with coaches and current players at each of your target schools provide will many of your most important insights.

The difficult part is: how do you come up with the right questions?

  • Do Your Research: Like any part of the recruiting process, deciding who to talk to and tailoring your questions to match that person’s experience and background is critical. Before you meet a college coach or a current college player of the school that you are interested in it is important that you have some background knowledge on not just the team, but also them personally. Having that baseline of knowledge will not only help you craft good questions, it will show them that you are serious about playing for them.
  • Write Down Some Questions: Much like a job interview, it is important to come prepared for a college recruiting tour or interview. Take some time before you meet up with the coach or player and jot down a few questions that you have based off of your research. Former college soccer coach Shannon Sitch – who now works full time in the recruiting field with EXACT Sports – provided ten great examples of questions to ask current players if one gets the chance to sit down with them.

Very often the questions that are written down will already be answered in mid-conversation and there may also be other questions that come from your conversation. That’s okay!

Making a list is merely meant to be a guide and help in keeping the conversation going. It is also a good idea to take notes from the person’s answers. Again, especially when it comes to college coaches, the details matter and they will pick up on things such as preparation and organization. Coaches aren’t just looking for excellent athletes, they’re looking for excellent students.

  • Follow-Up Questions Are OK: Everyone has a moment where they finish an interview and then realize they forgot to ask something. College officials fully expect and appreciate follow-up questions so if there is something that was missed during the visit, provided that it is within the NCAA guidelines for when officials can contact recruits, a follow-up question via email is perfectly fine. Make sure to thank them for taking the time to do the interview.

Asking questions is never an easy thing to do. But it’s a critical part of the recruiting process and will help narrow down the college search and hopefully help both the player and the school make the right decision.