A campus visit is an essential component of determining which college is right for you. It is your opportunity to get a sense of the school and the team first-hand. Going on a campus visit — especially if it’s unofficial — is a great CaptainU Recruiting move because it proves to the coach that you’re serious about his team.
If you do a good job promoting yourself to college coaches, they’ll ask you to come visit. If they don’t ask, you should volunteer. Let coaches know that you’d like to come see the place. It’s better to visit once the coach has a pretty clear sense of you personally and as an athlete, so the best time for most recruits is during the fall of your senior year— once you’re well into the CaptainU Recruiting process and are poised to actually apply. If your schedule demands that you visit before he has seen you play, it’s not the end of the world. At the very least, before you start making major travel plans, the coach should
have your cover letter and profile. You should also gauge his interest.
VISIT YOUR TOP SCHOOLS
Unless you’re willing to shuttle all over the place, visiting your original list of ten colleges will probably not be feasible. By now, you should have cut your list down to five or six top choices. If not, before you break the bank visiting them all, evaluate each school and try to narrow the field. Look over your notes and review your impressions. Assess the quality of feedback you’ve received from each school. Visit the candidate schools that you determine are best suited for you. Don’t be
afraid to let a few of the less appealing schools fall by the wayside.
If you’ve promoted yourself well, you’ll be asked to come on an official visit during the fall of your senior year. Such visits are paid for by the team—meals, admissions to campus athletic events, and transportation may be paid out of team funds. With the exception of top recruits at top Division I teams, it’s unlikely that the team will pay your travel expenses. Teams’ budgets are already stretched thin. So don’t worry if a coach doesn’t offer to pay for your transportation. You should be willing to get yourself there.
Before your senior year, all visits are unofficial. You must pay all of your expenses, including travel, meals, and admissions to athletic events. These visits are great to do during the spring of your junior year to get a feel for a campus. You may make as many unofficial visits to a campus as you like.
Unofficial visits may not be as glamorous as official visits, but they are no less important. Going on an unofficial visit is a great way to convince a coach that you’re really serious about his team. You should still coordinate your visit with the coach,
even though it’s not official. He’ll be able to help you arrange to stay overnight with one of the players, which is one of the most important things to do while you’re there.
Your visit might also be entirely different from two planned scenarios described above. You might take a whirlwind 20-day, 16-state college trip during the summer, when no one is on campus.
Whatever the circumstances, e-mail or call in advance to arrange to meet the coach while you’re on campus. If for some reason you can’t give advanced warning, find the coach’s office and knock on the door.
• Recruits are limited to 5 official visits.
• Only 1 official visit may be made at each school.
• Official visits may only occur during a recruit’s senior year of high school.
THE RULES OF VISITING
Strict NCAA guidelines govern official visits. You should familiarize yourself with the rules before making any visiting commitments. A few of the most important rules are listed below. The NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete describes the rules in greater detail.
ON CAMPUS AT LONG LAST
You may arrive for your visit and find an schedule waiting for you. Don’t be freaked out if you aren’t given a hero’s welcome. Some coaches roll out the red carpet for recruits. Others require you to be more self-sufficient. Face it, there are also some coaches who just aren’t organized well enough to put together a detailed schedule for you.Some coaches provide transportation to and from the airport. Make airport pick-up arrangements before your trip, so you don’t have to spend the night on the baggage
While you’re on campus, keep in mind that this is an opportunity for you to evaluate the school and the team. You have a lot of say in this decision. As much as you’re trying to win the coach over, so too must his school and team prove that they’re right for you. If you don’t like a college, you don’t have to go there just because the coach wants you to come. Most importantly, recognize that this is your potential team for the next four years.
Do you like what you see in terms of style, quality of play and instruction, the team’s attitude on the field, as well as the social dynamic? There are many components to a successful visit. Whether or not an itinerary has been made for your visit, while you’re on campus you should meet with the coach, watch a game or practice, and stay overnight with a player.
Meet With The Coach
There’s no substitute for a face-to-face discussion with the coach. Arrange a time during your stay to drop by his office for a chat. Prepare yourself with questions you want to ask. Don’t feel like you have to start the conversation with the tough
questions about where you stand. Instead, be prepared to start with a normal conversation about your stay, your current high school team, whatever. Most coaches want to get a sense of you on a personal level—as you should of them.
Stay tuned for more of “Make the Team”, written by CaptainU CEO, Avi Stopper with #MaketheTeam
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