Hey Kayleigh! I was wondering about the general process of going to colleges when visiting about recruitment. I’ve already sent in my rowing resume, a recording, and school transcripts to the coach, and he said he’d like to meet and discuss the team when I visited campus. What goes on at these meetings and how does the topic of recruitment come up? I don’t want to be blunt about it when I’m there but I’m curious about admissions and when I’d know about whether or not I am a definite recruit. Also, do you know what kind of questions might be asked? Thanks!
The questions I got were mostly about my rowing background, what I was hoping to study, general questions about why I was looking at that university, why I chose to apply there, what attracted me to the major I was interested in, what my goals were with crew, etc. The questions they asked me revolved more about my education than anything else … the majority of the rowing related questions came from me. Most of the coaches straight up said that they wanted to make sure the recruits came to the university because of the education we’d be getting, not specifically for the rowing program, so they really touted the benefits of the school itself and the academic resources that were available to us through the athletic department.
As far as recruiting goes, you can still be on the team if you aren’t a recruit – you’re basically an experienced walk-on. There were several girls that did that when I was at Syracuse and they were always lumped in with the women who were recruited. The only difference between the two groups was that one group was pursued by the coaches (the recruits) and the other pursued the coaches (the experienced walk-ons). I think the best way to go about finding out your “status” is to just ask where you fall in terms of the coxswains they’re looking at and how serious they are about supporting your application.
Other than all of that, they’ll probably take you on a tour of the athletic facilities – their weight room, erg room, adviser’s offices, etc. – and then invite you down to check out the boathouse. One of the coaches I met with also gave me a tour of campus, which was nice. Basically any time you spend with them is an opportunity to ask any questions you think of (like these ones) so use it wisely. You can always email them afterwards if you think of something after you leave but it’s always so much simpler to ask questions in person and get a response right away and typically with more detail than you would in an email.
I would also recommend, if you can, talking to some of the rowers who are currently on the team. That’d be a good way to go about getting info on team culture, training, balancing school and crew, etc. from an actual student’s perspective, which I tend to take a little more seriously than the coach’s simply because the rowers are living it and are dealing with the same circumstances that you potentially will be.
Whatever you do though, ask a lot of questions. The coaches will appreciate it because it shows you’re serious about being a part of the team and the university and it’ll be good for you because it’ll give you an idea of what the coach/program is like and how you’ll contribute to the team if you decide to go to that school. You want to be able to make an informed decision when you ultimately decide on what school to go to so get as much information as you possibly can when you go meet them. Oh, and be relaxed too. It’s not like you’re going into a high-stress, super serious meeting. All the meetings I had with coaches were pretty chill and easygoing, so don’t be nervous.