Perfect Performance Cardinal 2023 Paige Counts on her official visit at the University of Cincinnati
For student-athletes in their junior and senior year of high school, the official visit is one of the more exciting forms of recruitment used by college coaches. Official college visits are not offered to just anyone; only the best of the best are invited personally by interested coaches. If you end up being one of the chosen athletes to be offered an official visit, make sure you’re prepared and know the right questions to ask so you and the coach can get to know each other as much as possible. Here’s what to know and what to expect before going off on your college visit and meeting with the coach.
What exactly is a college visit?
An official visit is when the college can pay for your transportation to and from the college, lodging and meals for you and your parents or guardians, as well as reasonable entertainment expenses, including three tickets to a home sports event such as a football game. Before you can be invited, you need to submit a copy of your high school transcript/test scores to the college, and be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The NCAA rules for lacrosse are that you can only visit a college on an official visit once and have only five total visits to all Division I schools; however, an unlimited number of official visits may be made to Division II schools. Unofficial visits where travel, lodging, and meal expenses are paid for by you and your family are also unlimited.
What should I expect on my visit?
Colleges vary when it comes to hosting prospective athletes. Some may have you stay with a current student-athlete who is on the team and it will be their job to show you around. With most visits, the coach will give you an itinerary for your stay and you will be on the campus for at least 24 hours but no more than 48 hours. You will experience almost every aspect of college life at that particular school, from checking out a practice, watching a game, touring the campus, eating in the dining hall, going to class, and/or joining in on the social atmosphere. It will be a fun filled day where you will get to meet up with the coach and discuss your future at the college and on the team. You may even get a scholarship offer while you're there! The school will also set up meetings with an academic advisor and/or professor in your desired major so you can get a better feel for the academics.
Having questions prepared shows a huge level of interest in the college's athletic program and the coach. Below are a few good questions to think about asking:
Representing yourself matters!
It is important to represent yourself as best as possible off the field. Most coaches will look at how you treat your parents, how you talk to other people, and how you interact with the girls on the team. It may seem small, but it's a very important thing. They want to make sure that you are not only a good fit on the field but off the field as well. After your visit is over it is always good to think about writing a thank you note to the coach, expressing your gratitude for their help and for sharing their time to make you feel at home.
An official college visit as a student is an overall exciting experience. As a student-athlete, you’ll get the full experience of visiting a college plus the added bonus of meeting and getting to know the coach. Because of this, you want to make sure you’re truly prepared to reap the benefits of every second of your visit. While this may seem intimidating, in the long run, being prepared will mean you’ll enjoy it more. So have fun and make a good first impression, especially if it’s your dream school!