Unofficial visits were one of my favorite things during the recruiting process, both as an athlete and as a DI coach. As an athlete, you get to meet coaches in person, see practice facilities, learn more about schools, and even meet some of the team. As a coach, you get to interact with athletes in person, meet families, and evaluate whether or not athletes would be a good fit for the teams culture.
Although the recruiting process becomes more serious for juniors and seniors in high school, it is never too early to tour campuses and meet coaches in person. I encourage athletes to schedule 2-3 unofficial visits during their sophomore year of high school and 2-3 additional unofficial visits during their junior year of high school. Here are some tips on how to schedule unofficial visits with college coaches.
1. Brainstorm which campuses you would like to visit most. Most athletes cannot afford to go on unofficial visits across the country. Therefore, think about 2-3 campuses that you would like to visit that are either within driving distance or a quick flight away.
2. Look at your calendar and pick out some free days. Once you have picked out some free days that you and your guardian(s) are able to go on unofficial visits, try to see if you can pair visits together. For example, if you are going to visit the University of San Francisco, then it is also wise to pair that visit with the University of California, Berkeley and see both campuses in one day or in the same weekend.
3. Contact the coaches and schedule unofficial visits. If NCAA rules prohibit coaches from emailing you back or calling you back, then it is time to pick up the phone and call. Call coaches on the phone and speak to them directly about scheduling an unofficial visit. Remember, if they do not pick up then keep calling back! Notify coaches that you will be near the campus on XYZ dates (the dates you have already picked out) and would like to visit then. Once you have locked down a time to visit one campus, you can move onto the next campus and see if you can schedule two campuses for the same day or for the same weekend.
The more unofficial visits you take, the more likely you will be able to get a sense of the school, team, and coaches. Unofficial visits are a free pass to gaining insight into how you feel about coaches and their program as well as how coaches feel about you. View this video and learn more about how to schedule your visits.
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