The Adventures of a College Recruiting Visit

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The college recruit visit, it’s one of the most helpful, fun experiences as a high school student athlete looking to play a sport in college. It’s a time when college coaches schedule a date for you and/or other recruits to visit the campus and be able to learn more about the college sports team you’re interested in playing for. As a high school student athlete, you’re special because you get to do what a very limited amount of high school students have the option of doing, which is spending an overnight on a college campus. That means opportunities like this are rare, so try and make the most out of it and more importantly, make sure you take a lot of information from it as well. It’s not all fun and games though; there is a lot that goes into a recruit visit on the teams end and on your end as well. The college team wants to attract as many talented recruits as possible to attend their school. It’s a cycle because if they promote their team and the school to the recruits and they enjoy it, they will come. This will make the team do better during the upcoming season which will attract more student athletes to look at that sports team and college the following year. So the coaches and players do a lot to help promote the school and organize the event. The coaches take the time to introduce you to their staff, they help organize players into hosting recruits (sometimes if they know what you’re looking to study in college they’ll pair you up with a player that’s studying that subject), and they make sure they know you like the back of their hand so they can talk about how you can be an asset to the school and the team. As much as the coach can try and persuade you to come to the school from an academic and athletic stand point, the college athletes play a crucial role in a recruit visit because they can relate to what you’re going through and they are the ones that have to show you a good time. As much as it’s important to go to a school for their academics and their sports, if you don’t like their social scene especially within the team, that might make a difference in whether you attend the school or not. But you’ll be in good hands with the college athletes. Depending on the day you visit and how long you’re staying for you might be able to attend some classes with the athlete, watch a practice or game, or even see what night life is like on the weekends. College is about having an overall amazing experience, so it’s important that they show you a realistic day in the life of a college student athlete. As the high school student athlete you have a lot to do to prepare for the recruit trip too. Not only will you be meeting the coaching staff and spending time with potential teammates but you’ll also be getting a tour of the athletic facilities, and watching and/or possibly participating in a training session (only at the Division II level). It’s important to do your research before you visit any college by looking into what conference the team is in, their record over the past couple seasons, finding out how many players play your position, etc. Also, make sure to prepare questions for the coaches. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions like if the team has a bad record, why? Or, what are the coaches doing to make the program better? Academic and social questions are important to ask too like “how do players manage their workload and playing sports?” Or, “how is the team’s chemistry? Do players get along off the field?” You’ll probably get these answers from the players themselves but it’s important to hear what the coach has to say because their perspective is different from the players. The more information and experience you get out of the visit, the easier it is for you to decide where you want to go and play. As someone who has experienced a recruit visit before, I was lucky enough to have the option of choosing whether I wanted to go to a party with some of the host players and recruits or hang out in the dorm room I was in with some of the other host players and recruits and talk. I chose the latter, I’m more of a laid back person. I wanted to relax and get to know these players more. I felt like I got to know these potential teammates a lot better because I was able to ask them questions about the school, the team, and more about themselves and they were able to get to know me better as a potential teammate of theirs as well. Ultimately, I chose to go to this school; not only for their academics or their campus style, but because after I got to know these players more I realized that I wanted to be one of them, these were the kind of student athletes I wanted to be around and that I looked up to. To this day the teammates I hung out with that night are still some of my closest friends and I’m really grateful for that. The recruit visit is one of the key parts as a student athlete in deciding if you want to play for a particular school or not because you’ll be able to see whether you like how the team gets along with each other, how they treat you, and the experience of what the life of a college student athlete is like. With that being said it’s important to keep a goal in mind on what you want to get out of your recruit visit. Set a standard for yourself, whether that means you do what the group does, or ask the person who’s hosting you if you can do something else. You want to be comfortable especially since you’re already out of your comfort zone being away from home for possibly the first time, meeting a lot of new people (potential teammates, other recruits, coaches), and receiving endless amounts of information about the school, the team, etc. It’s a lot to take in in a short amount of time and the players will understand that because they went through it before too. So just be honest and they’ll do what they can to make your experience fun no matter what. The college recruit visit can be a long, draining ride but it’s an exciting one too.   By: Melanie Escobar
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