Campus Visits: A Look Under the Hood for the Prospective Student-Athlete

Campus Visits: A Look Under the Hood for the Prospective Student-Athlete

By Tom Kovic

A productive road trip is your “backstage pass” to the college search for athletes and taking unofficial visits to several of your top schools of interest is a great way to get a “look under the hood” to determine if the institution is a potential “match.”

The campus visit is extremely important and requires careful planning. Coaches are like hot potatoes and it can be very difficult to track them down without proactive communication.

A good first step should be to contact the office of admissions and determine when campus tours and information sessions are offered and register. Once this task is complete, you want to make every attempt to schedule a meeting with Coach.

Coaches can be tough to track down and arranging a campus meeting could be a daunting effort. My suggestion is to first develop a string of preliminary communications with Coach before you pop the question about setting up an informal meeting. These include:

  • Introduction e-mail with personal profile attachment.
  • YouTube or personal website video link to help Coach evaluate your talent.
  • Tournament and Camp schedule to give Coach an idea to your competitive level.
  • A testimonial from your high school or club Coach that helps distinguish you from the pack.

Taking a campus visit requires a leap of faith into unknown territory that can initially be nerve racking! Trust me, the coaches in the college ranks are men and women of integrity. They are moms, dads and educators who at face value, realize the importance of the college search for athletes. That being the case and considering the contact restrictions college coaches are bound, it will be up to the family to do most of the trench work in lining up the trip.

Rough Schedule
Sit down as a family unit and share your personal calendars. Roughly identify potential campus visit dates that work for everyone. Consider 2-3 alternative dates and remember, as a family you will need to work around conflicting commitments, “Sacrifice” will be your operative to make the campus visit work.

Campus Tour
Contact the admissions office and determine when the information sessions and tours will be held the day you plan to visit campus. These events fill-up quickly so be sure to reserve your spot.

Contact Coach
Contact the college coaches 2 weeks prior to your planned trip and determine their schedule and availability to meet with you and your folks. Develop an e-mail to coach that states clearly your campus visit plans. Include exact information and let coach know the date you are visiting and the times of the tour and information session. Express your desire to personally meet with coach while on campus.

College coaches are bound to very strict contact rules and in many cases, cannot respond to the e-mail you sent regarding the visit. Leave nothing to chance. A few days after the e-mail is sent, follow-up by phone and secure the meeting.

Below are a few simple but impactful tips in preparing for the campus visit:

  • Research each college you plan to visit and come up with 3-4 operatives to why the institution is a good, potential all-around match.
  • Approach the meeting like you would approach a job interview and come to the meeting organized and well-prepared.
  • Develop a portfolio that includes: cover letter, personal profile, transcripts, test scores and a current coach testimonial. Organize this material in a nice, professional looking folder.

Campus visits are great opportunities to get a first-hand look at colleges and universities. You want to get a “feel” for the environment and develop a general inventory about coach, his program and where he sees the program heading in the future. It’s a great way to jump start the recruiting process!

Tom Kovic is a former Division I Head College Coach and President of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence” An educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information, visit:

Copyright © 2016 Victory Collegiate Consulting. All Rights Reserved.