Campus Visits are a very important part of the recruiting puzzle. Having an idea about certain schools you may be interested in will be a valuable asset when calls and offers begin on July 1 after the junior year.
This is a great time of year for parents, players, high school coaches and summer coaches to all come together and formulate a plan for visiting colleges. NCAA rules allow for unlimited, unofficial visits to college campuses where a player can take a campus tour, meet with coaches and actually take in a game if the schedules all match up. During theses unofficial visits, all expenses are paid for by the parents even though you can have a sit down with the college staff. After the first day of classes of Senior year, a college can invite a player down for an OFFICIAL VISIT. NCAA rules allow a player only 5 Official visits during which time, the college pays all the players expenses, travel, hotel, meals etc and those expenses of the parents once they arrive on campus.
Parents and players should approach their son's coaches with some ideas and some background information when asking for help. Have a good idea of whether or not the player is a fit academically before we factor in talent. Some of the things we hope to have you come away from these visits include, the size of the school (too big or too small), student population (male vs female, athlete vs non), academic programs (do they have what you're interested in studying), location, one of the most important decisions because of parental access and home sickness. (warm weather vs cold, access, transportation), Tuition costs (all baseball scholarships are partial, what is affordable), Game schedules (can we catch a game while there).
The next piece of important information is when will you be going, how much time do you have allocated for this trip? driving or flying? just how much driving do you want to do? Will he miss high school games or classes? Has your son been in contact with the coaches? Do you want to see the team play?From this information we can then formulate a plan. In most cases, a schedule can be made to accommodate visits to 2 schools per day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Your visits with the coaches will only be a half hour to and hour but it's also nice to visit with admissions and take a campus tour. A good idea is to bring copies of your un-official academic transcripts with you to show the coaches and the admissions counselors. Planning for a 2 -3 hour visit is usually enough and this will all start by 8:30-9:00 am and allow for an hour or two of travel between schools.
February break, Easter break and summer break are great times to visit since they take very little time away from the students class schedule. The February break and Easter break allow the student to visit campus while classes are in session and you can get a true feel for the campus. It is also a time when the baseball season is in session with practices and games. It's important to see one or the other when possible since it will give the player a sense of whether he can fit in and how the coaches are with their players. It may not reveal all but you will see some.
An experienced high school or summer league coach will be able to help you here as they have done this in the past and you are the next player they help. It's a great tool and helps these coaches continue to establish relationships with college coaches.
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