College Counseling Hosts Panel of Coaches for Students Interested in College Athletics

The College Counseling Office (CCO) hosted a focus meeting for students interested in college level athletics this past Thursday. The athletics focus consisted of a question and answer session with two college coaches. Amy Fowler, the Head Field Hockey Coach at Dartmouth College and Geoff Wheeler, the Head Mens Soccer Coach at Wesleyan University answered questions from the student audience. Jonathan Nicholson, Associate Director of College Counseling, said, “We found that the more information [students] have, the better the process is.” “It is all about letting the students get information for the college application process,” said Nicholson. The purpose of the athletics meeting was to provide an “opportunity for student-athletes to ask questions about the recruiting process,” said Nicholson. “We encourage students to ask questions to coaches and college counselors here, but this meeting gives them the opportunity to get information from college coaches,” Nicholson continued. The meeting opened with a general introduction to college athletics and the recruiting process and ended with a discussion between the panelists and the students. The introductory information gave “good basic insight into the whole recruiting process” said Shannon McSweeney ’11, a Varsity Field Hockey player, who attended the meeting. “The meeting gave me some good advice about the college recruiting process and official visits, but I feel that most people already knew a lot of information,” said Katherine Woonton ’11, a Varsity Soccer player. The question and answer period with the coaches proved to be more helpful for Woonton. “It was a good opportunity to meet a coach for [field hockey players and boys soccer players] and the college coaches were very helpful in answering specific questions,” Woonton said. The College Counseling Office carefully selects the coaches for the meeting year to year. “We want coaches who know PA and our athletic programs and every year we have different coaches and switch sports,” said Nicholson. “The coaches selected for the panel, this year from Wesleyan and Dartmouth, are generally from a Division I school and a Division II school since those are the kind of schools most of Andover athletes matriculate,” Nicholson added. Bringing coaches from colleges also is a “chance for students to ask questions they are not comfortable asking a coach they are trying to impress,” he said. “A lot of the questions were about building relationships with college coaches during recruiting” said Chris Cameron ’11, a Varsity Baseball player. Questions ranged from how to contact and update college coaches on a potential recruit’s process and the role of the high school coach in the recruiting process. Students also asked about the importance of camps and of sending video clips to college coaches. “For people who don’t play team sports, it was really unhelpful because they were talking about camps so coaches can see you when in a game, but for racing athletes it wasn’t helpful because times matter more,” said Claire Harmange ’11, a member of the Varsity Crew team. The coaches also discussed official visits, which are paid for in part or in whole by the school, unlike unofficial visits. The coaches also covered the time commitment demanded by collegiate sports and advice about how to have a realistic assessment of one’s athletic abilities. The college athletics focus meeting is the second in a series hosted by the CCO. The CCO has already sponsored a presentation on college visiting. In the future, the CCO will present on topics including engineering, the arts, financial aid, application essays, and British universities. The CCO has also organized a student panel called “Lessons Learned” and a workshop on college interviews.