One of the most important things in the recruiting process is to visit the campuses of the schools that you are interested in attending. Reading about a college on the internet does not take the place of going there in person, seeing the campus, and experiencing the school first hand. the official visit and the unofficial visit.
By definition, the official visit is:
Any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay the following expenses:
• Your transportation to and from the college;
• Room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the college; and
• Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. (Source: www.ncaa.org)
An unofficial visit is defined as:
Any visit by you and your parents to a college campus paid for by you or your parents. The only expense you may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. You may make as many unofficial visits as you like and may take those visits at any time. (Source: www.ncaa.org)
Unofficial visits you can make anytime you want. Most college campuses are open, so you can just walk around and get a feel for the place. You can also contact the Admissions office for a campus tour.
When you visit, contact the head coach to set up a meeting with him/her and players on the team. While there be sure to ask lots of questions. Don’t be too shy or intimidated to ask. Make as many unofficial visits to a school as you can. You should get started making visits to schools in your junior year, that way you can visit again in your senior year either for an official or unofficial visit.
For an official visit however, the college will basically pay for everything. For NCAA Division III you are only permitted to do one official visit per institution and you can only do them during your senior year of high school. It is best if do an official visit as an overnight visit. For this you come to the campus, get paired up with a current player on the team, hang out with them for the day, sleep overnight in their room and leave the next day.
The great thing is that you get to experience the campus from the perspective of a student—what is the campus like after classes are over? Is it a crazy party campus or is everyone sitting in the library studying? You will get to experience the cafeteria food which at most places is better some days than others. You will get to meet other students on campus- athletes and non-athletes. Most importantly you will get a feeling of whether you belong there or not.
The bottom line is this—-be sure to make the most of your visits to the colleges that you are investigating- both official and unofficial. You want to see the campus as many times as you can so you are confident in your choice.
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