What a great blog. I stumbled across it a couple of months back and have been impressed by your knowledge, effort, and kindness. Thank you!
Our daughter is 2012 MB. She received the seemingly shotgun approach of letters and replied to all. (40-50 programs) Got overwhelming so narrowed our efforts to the 9 programs that she was most interested in. Each is wanting a first or second unofficial visit. They want her to email/call/skype/send video regularly. Each says the usual glowing things but there has been no offer. Heard a volleyball dad say the other day "you're not being recruited until you have an offer".
Another college asked her this week if she had any offers, she said no, and he seemed very interested in this point. So what is happening? The amount of time /effort that is being required sure feels like she is being recruited. However we wonder if the lack of an offer is significant at this point. I feel like we should simply be patient and let this play out. At the same time I have this nagging concern that we should be more aggressive.
Should we be asking: have you offered to others? will you offer if she visits? where does she stand in your depth chart? What is your timeline for making an offer? etc... We don't want to pressure or annoy a program but at the same time want to make sure she we making the right moves. I know your perspective would help!
One last question. how is an offer typically made?
Thank you so much for helping another neurotic volleyball family.
I would not put too much into the fact an offer is not on the table yet; there is still a lot of time left in the 2012 recruiting cycle (and tell the volleyball dad that he is wrong). Your daughter just may be being recruited by programs which are trying to decide if they need an OH or a MB, and they may not know the answer to that question until after their season is over. Or, she is one of many MB's they are recruiting and they are trying to decide which one to offer or she is #2 or #3 on their list.
In terms of unofficial visits, I would not go on one which costs decent money (flight versus drive) unless you know an offer will be presented. If it is a school which is a two hour drive away, then money is not an issue (even though gas prices are climbing up again!) and it helps going on a few unofficial visits just to compare and contrast. But if you are looking at an all day drive or an airline flight and hotels, then this is some coin.
When a coach/programs asks for an unofficial visit, respond with an email asking the questions you presented to me - There is absolutely nothing inappropriate about asking these questions - Where does she stand on the recruiting chart, will you offer if we visit, what is your program time line for extending offers to your 2012 class, etc. are all questions which must be asked by parents. If a program is taking the time to interact with your daughter, which it sounds like, then asking these questions is the responsible thing to do.
When a scholarship offer is presented it is either verbal or written. I like to extend my scholarship offers in person, with the parents in attendance so I might guage their reactions and answer any immediate questions which they might have. But, some programs like to present this offer in writing, as it tends to lend weight or seriousness to the offer. In situations where the PSA may be a distance away from the college/university, a written offer demonstrates the sincere interest of a school where the cost of a family taking an unofficial visit is of concern.
Again, I would not sweat it too much right now because college programs are all in the craziness of our seasons and she seems to be having good interaction with a number of colleges. I would not worry about being too aggressive, as all you can really do is just interact, ask questions and update college programs with current information.
Also, when the Club season kicks in, I would not be surprised if there is a whole new batch of suitors for your daughters abilities. I caution parents from becoming too focused on Division/Conference/Reputation of a college volleyball programs, as the level of the PSA usually matches up with the level of the school offering the player; this is why elite level players go to elite level programs and mid level players go to mid level programs.
I would be MUCH MORE concerned with the personalities of the coaches, the attitudes of the players, the geographic location of the school and the academic fit. These attributes tend to dictate whether or not a player is happy, and decides to explore transfering. We very rarely hear of a player transfering because she was so much better than everyone on her team or so much worse than everyone on her team, but we always hear of players transferring because of a crazy college coach, partying team mates, too far from home or the school did not have their desired major even though they knew this going into their first year.