To help your student-athletes prepare, go over a list of questions the coach might ask and encourage them to be confident throughout the visit.
Going on official and even unofficial campus visits can be exciting for both you and your student-athletes. These visits are a chance to meet the coach and college athletes in person, tour the dorms and attend a game.
Your children can picture themselves walking to class, eating at the dining hall and stepping onto the field. Every college offers a different experience. Spending time on campus can help your children make a confident decision on where they will spend the next four years.
Keep in mind that official and unofficial visits are a two-way street. Coaches invite families onto their turf to evaluate your athlete — and even you — in person. As you arrange campus visits over winter break and during the first few months of the new year, understanding these four things college coaches are looking for will help you make a great impression.
IS YOUR CHILD INTERESTED IN THE PROGRAM?
If your student-athlete doesn’t have much interest in a college or an athletic program, the coach is usually able to tell pretty quickly. Many recruits hold out hope for a DI scholarship, but consent to visit DII and DIII schools due to pressure from their parents. However, once the family makes it to campus, the student-athlete’s lukewarm interest is hard to hide.
Before you visit any college, make sure your family is on the same page. Help your child research the program and demonstrate interest by asking good questions: What are the most common majors on the team? What do the offseason and holiday commitments look like? What does a typical week of practice look like?
WHAT DOES YOUR CHILD’S BODY LANGUAGE SAY?
On the visit, be sure to smile, make consistent eye contact and turn your phone on silent. There are countless stories of college coaches who stopped recruiting a top prospect due to negative body language.
While coaches understand that some high schoolers are naturally quiet and shy, they need to get to know your children to determine whether they are a good fit for the team. To help your student-athletes prepare, go over a list of questions the coach might ask and encourage them to be confident throughout the visit.
HOW ARE THE PARENTS BEHAVING?
Coaches don’t just evaluate student-athletes — they pay close attention to parents as well. Since the college decision involves the whole family, you are also part of the deal. Coaches want to make sure you mesh well with the program’s culture and empower your child to be independent.
During the visit, if you ask and answer the majority of the questions for your athlete, it tells the coach that your children may need some hand-holding once they’re on their own. Be supportive and encouraging. But give your athlete room to open up.
DOES YOUR CHILD VIBE WITH THE TEAM?
Official and unofficial visits are a great opportunity for your child to experience a taste of campus life as a student-athlete. If coaches have serious interest in your children, they will likely arrange for them to stay overnight with a current team member, go to a few classes, attend practice and eat with the team. If your children have a great time and make friends with current players right away, the college might be the right choice.
Read more: How to get recruited