Campus visits provide the best opportunity to gather information about a school and evaluate its athletic and academic programs. Whether official and unofficial, a visit can also be a recruiting game-changer, according to Tom Kovic, founder and president of Victory Recruiting Consulting. Here’s how to make the most of your next visit.
|Think of an unofficial visit as a preliminary interview. The NCAA doesn’t restrict when you can take an unofficial visit. Depending on geographical location, aim for five to eight campus visits, and balance the trips among Division I, II and III schools.
||The NCAA permits five official visits, starting the first day of your senior year of high school. These visits are funded in full or in part by the college and are permission-based, meaning you must be invited by the program and registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Each visit is limited to 48 hours.
|Start taking unofficial visits after your sophomore year. Summer may be best time to meet with a coach, because it’s typically downtime. Don’t just show up for a visit; communicate with the coach at least one month in advance, and notify him/her of your scheduled activities while on campus.
||Help the coach with scheduling official visits. As long as you’re respectful, don’t be shy about suggesting that an official visit could be helpful in making your college decision. Realize though that the coach could potentially decline your request.
|What to expect
|Take a campus tour and attend the school’s information session to learn about admission requirements, academic standards and campus life. Based on earlier communication, try to schedule a meeting with coach. If all goes well, you may have 30 to 45 minutes with coach, so be prepared with questions and answers.
||You will most likely be paired with a student host, who will show you around and entertain you during your visit. Expect to attend a varsity football or basketball game. A coach who wants to recruit you will pull out all the stops to promote his/her program and persuade you to commit. Official visits are prime time for scholarship offers.
|Send a handwritten note thanking the coach for the opportunity to visit. State your intent to update him/her about your academic and athletic progress throughout the year. You can also extend an invitation to tournaments and showcases for further evaluation.
||Send a handwritten note thanking coach for welcoming you on campus. If you did not receive a scholarship offer, continue to explore other options. Don’t be afraid to ask coach where you stand on the recruiting board.
|If you have time
|Visit a school more than once. Use the first trip for information gathering. During a follow-up visit, sit in on a class, meet with current players and try to get a feel for the daily life of a student-athlete.
||Use all of your official visits, even if you are close to choosing a particular school.
Be fully prepared for any and all situations you might encounter during your next recruiting visit.
- 2 pairs of clean socks
- 2 pairs of boxers/briefs
- 3 shirts: long sleeve, polo or plain t-shirt (layering underneath), button-down (for more formal events) and V-neck or cardigan (to wear over button-down shirt)
- Tie (possibly needed based on trip itinerary)
- Jacket (non-varsity presents a more mature look)
- Jeans (avoid ripped or patched styles)
- Sneakers (a comfortable pair for walking around campus)
- Winter hat (for outdoor wear only; no coach likes a hat during meetings)
- Sleep Gear
NSW Destroyer Jacket, $340, nike.com
1 Southpole Thermal, $25, southpole-usa.com
2 Air Jordan Remix Hoody ($90) and Short ($45), jumpman23.com
3 Southpole Relaxed Tint Jeans, $45, southpole-usa.com
4 Puma Faas 300, $85, puma.com
5 Nike ACG Terrain Park Winter Fleece, $90, nike.com
6 adidas adissage FitFOAM Slides, $35, adidas.com
7 Nike Dri-Fit Socks, $20 per 6-pack, nike.com
8 Under Armour: Armour Select Duffle, $60, underarmour.com
9 Nike Golf Reversible Belt, $27, nike.com
10 Express V-Neck Tipped Cardigan Sweater ($60) and Knit V-Neck Tee ($25), express.com
Antonio Gates: A Recruiting Story Like No Other
Recruiting Support Network
Effective Networking With a College Coach
NCAA Rules & Regs