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September 29, 2021

Dos and Don’ts of Campus Overnight Visits

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As you near the end of your recruiting journey, all that’s left is to attend overnight visits at the schools you’ve narrowed down to. Overnight visits, both official and unofficial, are among the best ways to get a great sense of the environment at a school and help you to narrow your list down. Here are a few dos and don’ts to get the most out of an overnight visit.

Do: Ask questions
The purpose of an overnight visit is to gather as much information as possible. Seek out advice from college players; they will always be more than happy to answer and speak with you about the process. Example questions below:

To Players:

  • Do you like the coaching staff? Can you give me one positive and one negative?
  • How do you manage training and academics?
  • What is a typical day? Compare this to the coach’s answer.
  • If you could do it again, would you choose this school?
  • Do you hang out with each other outside of the sport?

Related: 37 Questions to Ask College Coaches before You Commit

Don’t: Get into trouble
The worst thing you can do on an overnight visit is to get into trouble. Word could get back to coaches, and coaches talk, so you do not want word getting out that you are a troublemaker. Do not feel pressure to do drugs or alcohol. Go to parties but do not engage in illegal activities. Have a good time and enjoy, but make smart decisions. 

Related: 12 Mistakes Commonly Made by Athletic Recruits

Do: Talk to as many team members as possible
Getting a sense of the team’s chemistry and how you can fit in is a massive part of an overnight visit. Chris Delano of Albany Power Lacrosse Club emphasizes, “staying overnight with a currently enrolled student-athlete is an incomparable experience.” The more people that you talk to, the better your sense of the team will be. Ask yourself if you could imagine feeling at home on this team and this campus. 

Team members will be happy to talk to you, and they can often give you a much more honest perspective on the team than the coach. Athletes can give you inside information on how well the coach is liked and respected, nightlife and parties, and much more than the coach and admissions office will give you. 

Related: Coach Ratings

Do not: Brag about yourself
If the conversation moves into discussing sports achievements, go for it! Every athlete loves telling the stories of the big hit they got, a clutch goal they scored, or a championship they won. The college team members will love to see you show enthusiasm for your sport. But, remember all college athletes were very good in high school, and they couldn’t care less about your stats and legendary high school status. College athletes have all gone through this process too, and have come out the other end, so you need to be humble and appreciate their talent as well as your own.

Pro Tip: Try to be as respectful as possible to your hosts, and remember that they are taking the time out of their busy schedule to host you. Be friendly and do not use or eat anything in their room without asking. 

Do: Go to a class!
If classes are in session when you visit the campus, request to go to class with a team member, especially in a field of study you might be interested in. Remember that you will be a student-athlete, and seeing if the school is a good fit academically is just as important as the athletic side. Take note of the class sizes, professor styles, and workload, and ask yourself if the school matches what you want. 

Related: South Dakota’s Swim Coach Dives into Academics and the Recruiting Process

Do not: Go on a Wednesday
Try to make your visit on a Friday if possible. That way, you will likely attend a class, and still get a sense of the social scene on the weekend. If you go on a Wednesday, do not be surprised to find yourself sitting in a room, watching your host do their work. 

Connor Levchuck, a senior baseball player at Vassar College, tells this story: “One of the prospective students that I hosted came on Wednesday… Our tight-knit team chemistry is something we take pride in and showcase to our prospies, and it was something he never saw because of the day he came.”

Do: Enjoy yourself!
Overnight visits can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the recruiting process, so have fun! You get to experience college without the pressure of performing on the field or in the classroom. You get to meet incredible people and learn about college life. Be prepared with a sleeping bag and pillow, and possibly a change of clothes. Remember that you will be sleeping in someone’s dorm room so you might be sleeping on the floor. Have fun and be yourself.

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