Top 5 tips for your campus visit so you don’t end up at a school you hate!
Every team and school has its own culture. It is your job to do some detective work and find out as much as you can on your recruiting visit.
- Do your homework before you get on campus.
Learn as much as you can about the college before you get on campus. Go through their website from top to bottom. They say that “information is power”. It is true. The more you know about admissions, financial aid opportunities, the athletics program, majors, and other campus opportunities, the better your visit will go. All this research will give you a preliminary idea of whether you are even interested in the school. It will also enable you to converse with coaches, players and administrators intelligently. When you are prepared, people will notice, and they will appreciate it.
- Ask questions of the coach.
Most recruits will sit in the coach’s office and only answer questions directed at them. The recruit will offer up no more than two or three trivial surface questions, such as “do all the athletes on the team live in the same dorm?” and “how many players are you recruiting?” You are about to make a decision that will not just affect your next four years, but will dictate the course of your future after college as well. Dig deeper. Engage the coach in a two way conversation. This does two things: first it will give you further insight into the coach and the team. Second, coaches are desperately looking for mature young adults. At 18, they are few and far between. You will yourself a distinct advantage in the recruiting process if you are able to look the coach in the eye and have a real conversation.
- Ask the coach to let you hang out with the current players.
You can ask about eating lunch, observing practice, and spending the night in the dorms. Take whatever is offered to you.
- Take every opportunity to get to know the current players.
It may not seem like it when you step on to campus, but every athlete on the team was in your situation within the last few years. Don’t be shy. Too often recruits are afraid to even tip toe out of their shell in front of the current players. If you choose this school, these players will become your friends. Feel free to ask the players anything you want, including themselves. The best way to get information and keep the conversation going is to ask about them. Ask about the school, the team, the coach, and about themselves.
Not everything will be about you. You are in their world and they are living out their lives. Listen and observe what they say and do. You will be surprised what you will learn. You may find they are the type of player you want to be around, and you may find you cannot stand them or are uncomfortable with what is important to them. This time behind the scenes is often one of the major factors in choosing a college and sports team. Many students have told me that one of two things happened with the players: first is that they didn’t feel like the current players liked them or cared whether they were there or not. And of the program they ended up choosing, they felt like it would be a great fit and loved hanging out with the players.
- Ask, ask, ask and observe, observe, observe.
Get on campus. You will learn very little before you do. I cannot stress enough how important the college visit is. And the college visit is what you make of it. If you are proactive in your research. If you engage the coach, players and other adults in real conversation. If you really open your eyes and observe what is going on. Then you will find the right fit. You will know it and the coach, current players and admissions department of the school will know it as well. It is a win, win situation!
- Bonus Tip
When you are with the players, connect with some of them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever. If nobody wants to connect with you, you probably don’t want to go there. After your visit, check out their social media. You will learn a lot about your possible future teammates.
Imagine yourself sitting in the office of a college coach. It is all going well as he tells you about his program. Next, he asks you preliminary questions about yourself and you feel more comfortable.
And then it happens, “so do you have any questions for me?”
Awkward silence. Your parent cringes. You end up asking a couple questions off the top of your head, “What’s your coaching style?” and “Do freshmen play?”
And suddenly the meeting ends. The coach thanks you and says goodbye.
Keep pushing forward,