Q: A school is sending mail, coming to see me play or has invited me to camp—how do I go about asking for an Unofficial Visit?
A: As coaches are evaluating prospects and prioritizing their recruits, they want you to do your research and be just as proactive and involved with the process as they are. While college coaches first must be interested in your athletic and academic abilities they love recruits who show a passion for their program.
If you have a scholarship offer or are a top prospect to a coach they will be inviting you to camps, Unofficial Visits, Official Visits, games and coming to see you. If you’re already on their radar, they’ll likely bring it up if they feel it’s a good next step.
If you haven’t been offered yet but coaches are showing signs of interest, this means they are still doing their research on you, are waiting on commitments from a few players they may have ranked above you, are still determining needs for your recruiting class and/or doing their in-depth evaluations for players in your graduation year, especially if you are a junior or younger.
Both college coaches and prospects are trying to do their research, especially early in the process. Within all of the programs that I’ve worked with, a good portion of players we offered were players who came to us. Coaches may not always find you; you may need to be a little more aggressive to get the process going on your own. So if there are signs that there is some level of interest and coaches are communicating with you, it’s common for players to bring up unofficial visits on their own. It’s definitely worth your time, if financially possible, and if there is mutual interest.
Some examples of how to bring up taking a visit to campus:
“My parents and I want to come up for the day to check out campus.”
“I’d like to come up to a game this season.”
“I will be in town with my family and we’d like to stop by next week.”
It’s better to bring up visiting the campus on an Unofficial Visit if a coach hasn’t brought up offering you an Official Visit. Schools have a limited number of Official Visits to give out, and financially, they are expensive so coaches will normally only invite recruits for Official Visits if they have offered them.
Making the effort to visit a school in person shows coaches that you are serious about the process and have some interest in their program. Coaches are evaluating and gauging interest – if you offer to visit and express interest in learning more about the program the coaches will be more willing to make a stronger decision of their level of interest in you, and where you rank among other players they have interest in and are recruiting.