During the fall, many college programs will host “Prospect Days,” which are great ways to get on campus and play in front of a school’s coaching staff.
While these days are great, however, they are not necessarily an indication of a school’s interest in you. A better gauge of interest is a school inviting you on campus for visit.
A big part of deciding where to pursue a college education is visiting a school, meeting the people there and getting a feel for the campus. Similarly, a big part of the recruiting process is taking an “Official” or “Unofficial” visit, where you meet the coaches and potential future teammates.
But what are the differences between an “Official” and “Unofficial” visit?
- Pertains to DI, DII and DIII
- All visits before senior year are by definition unofficial.
- Prospective student athletes pay all travel expenses associated with the visit.
- Prospective student athletes can stay on campus with a member of the team or another student.
- Prospective student athletes can take as many unofficial visits as they like to any number of colleges at any time.
- Prospective student athletes can meet with the college coach while on campus.
- Coaches can help prospective athletes coordinate NCAA unofficial visits.
How does a coach know who is really interested? How does a player know who is really interested?
The answer to both questions is the unofficial visit. After a player receives a letter or email from a coach, it is up to the player to contact the coach and provide a highlight reel and a letter or email alerting the coach that he/she is interested in the program. Of note: A large majority of the letters sent to recruits on September 1st are simply to see who comes back with video and expressing interest.
If the coach considers the player a real prospect, they will go out of their way to invite the player on campus for an unofficial visit. If the player accepts the invitation, then the coach knows that the player is truly interested in their school.
If you have not heard from a number of programs you are interested in, you must put a highlight reel and your information in front of them ASAP before the coach runs out of weekends in the Fall to have you up for a visit.
If the coach has not invited you up for a visit, you must show him a highlight that displays your talent.
HOW SPORTSRECRUITS CAN HELP
SportsRecruits.com helps you contact a coach with your video and transcript in just one click with the Built In Messaging system. Every DI, DII and DIII coach is a registered user, Click here to learn how SportsRecruits.com can help you through the recruiting process.
- Pertains to DI and DII programs
- Prospective student athletes can only make one official visit to any given college.
- Prospective student athletes can only make official visits during their senior year of high school.
- Prospective student athletes can make no more than 5 total official visits.
- Official visits can only last 48 hours.
- The college team can pay for your travel and lodging. This is the main distinction between an official and unofficial visit.
- Prospective student athletes may receive free admission to the team’s games, but can only sit in the general seating area.
- Your host can be a player on the team, who receives a set amount of money to cover your expenses while you are on campus.
- Prospective student athletes cannot use this allotment to buy souvenirs or other merchandise.
Official visits are becoming more of a formality with the acceleration of the recruiting process, as many prospects commit well before their senior year even begins.
At Division I programs and top-tier Division III programs, most players will have verbally committed before their senior year. The official visit has become an opportunity for a player to visit campus on the school’s dime while meeting other recruits and current team members. For players who have not verbally committed, we suggest taking all 5 of your official visits.
The best tip we can offer for an unofficial/official visit is to take a Friday off from school and spend the day and night with players on the team. Meeting with the coaches and getting a tour of the athletic facilities is a good start, but you want to spend time on campus with current players and the general student body.
- Take a standard admissions tour of campus. Outside of the tour, this will enable you to see what other types of students are considering the school.
- Go to classes with a player on the team. Are classes what you expected? Can you see yourself in only small classes? Are large lecture classes suitable?
- See where players eat meals. You get a great idea of who they socialize with. Do they only eat with other players? Do they have friends outside the team? Are they in fraternities or other clubs?
- Go to practice. Is there mandatory practice or conditioning? Are there captain’s practices?
- Go out and see what a Friday night on campus is like. Are there lots of school-run activities? Do students go to campus parties? Do students go into a nearby town or city?
- Stay in underclassmen dorms. Do most students live on campus? Can you see yourself living in a 2 person double or a 4 person suite? Are there coed dorms? Is campus housing close to the academic buildings?
Doing all of these things will enable a player to see if they are a good academic, athletic and social fit.
Remember, you NEVER want to go to a school just because you can play a sport there. You want to choose a school that is a good fit for you academically and socially. Use sports as a vehicle to get into the best school possible. Over the course of your life, your degree is going to shape a lot of the options you have after your playing days are long gone.
HOW SPORTSRECRUITS CAN HELP
There are a number of ways SportsRecruits.com can assist its members. Aside from the quick access to college coaches – every DI, DII and DIII coach is a registered user – our staff can look at a member’s profile, transcripts and highlight reel to help guide the player in the recruiting process. Staffers are former collegiate athletes who can help give a member an idea of the 20-30 schools to focus on.
SportsRecruits.com members have had amazing success getting into their target schools. Click here to see a list of some recently committed members.
SportsRecruits.com was started by two former Wesleyan lacrosse players and is staffed by former athletes who played at every level – from Virginia to Monmouth to Wesleyan. Members deal with former college players when issues arise – players who have dealt with many of those same issues themselves.
The Fall is a great time to connect with your target list of programs after a crazy Summer. Call 212-414-8417 or email Courtney@SportsRecruits.com if you have questions about how to become a member.
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