6 Things You Can do as a Recruit When You Can’t Visit Campus

by Elizabeth Levy 13

September 26th, 2020 College, News

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a whole host of problems for colleges and universities around the country. Athletic teams in particular are dealing with a large number of unknowns as the fall semester picks up. As a result of the pandemic, the NCAA has imposed a dead period on Division I recruiting until January 1, 2021. What this means is that coaches are not allowed to meet with recruits in person, or actively scout potential athletes. The NCAA has also advised schools to stop all official and unofficial visits from recruits. However, coaches are still able to communicate with recruits over phone or social media.

These restrictions can make it an even more difficult time for recruits who are starting to make a decision about where to go to college, but luckily, there are plenty of resources out there. Here are some tips for recruits who are looking for some guidance as they navigate the college search during this time:

1. Schedule a Virtual Tour of Campus

There are a couple of ways for you to see campus virtually as a recruit. Lots of schools have ways to do virtual tours on their website. You can also ask a coach to show you the pool and athletic facilities when you are on the phone with them.

2. Schedule a Virtual Meeting with the Team

Getting to know your potential teammates is just as important as getting to know your potential coaches when making a decision about college. While you may be unable to see teams in person, see if you can meet some of the current members virtually. Doing this will help you get a better sense of whether or not you will fit in with the team culture.

3. Explore the Team and School Websites

Since you won’t be able to get information about the school from an in-person visit, check out all of its online resources. Get to know the school, and then look at the team’s website, as well. You can dig through articles about past seasons as well as stats such as school records and top-10 times to get an even better sense of what it would be like to swim there and how you would fit.

4. Explore the Team and School Social Media Accounts

Look at the school’s and team’s social media accounts, as well. Teams are still posting photos and updates as they navigate this strange time. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter are great ways to get a more behind-the-scenes look at a team and its facilities.

5. Connect Individually with Current Members of the Team

Ask a coach or captain to connect you with other members of the team. Getting multiple perspectives on the school will give you more information to help you make your decision. And speaking with athletes who are close to your age and who recently went through the college process themselves is a great way to get an honest and candid look at a school or a team.

6. Attend as Many Info Sessions for Prospective Students as Possible

If schools are offering any virtual info sessions, Q&As, or other similar resources for prospective students, take advantage of them. Resources like this will give you a better sense of what your overall college experience at a particular school would be like, not just what your athletic experience would be like.

Making a decision about college may seem intimidating, especially during this time, but there are plenty of resources out there to help you with your decision. Coaches are always ready to help in any way that they can. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. It’s important to get the most information possible in order to make the best decision for you.

Have any other advice for recruits navigating the college search during this time? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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malleesmom
24 days ago

Make sure to check local news source websites and social media. The college is one part of the area but what does the respective city look like. How is city safety? We watched a multitude of campus tours, YouTube videos, checked social media for all things campus related. There is a town/city attached. The six items listed in the article are good, just think big picture.

SwimFan49
24 days ago

We also hopped on a plane and walked the campus of a school our swimmer is interested in. Couldn’t meet with any coaches, of course, or even get inside any buildings, but was useful to set eyes on the campus and its surrounding area.

HeadTimer
24 days ago

What do you interested parents think of kids committing based on a totally virtual experience? Not having visited the school or meeting coaches or team members in person? (I don’t know if this has been happening, but I think probably?)

malleesmom
Reply to  HeadTimer
23 days ago

That is pretty much it happened for us. Our athlete took a HUGE leap of faith, signed and met everyone later. I cannot imagine we were the only family in that situation.

HeadTimer
Reply to  malleesmom
23 days ago

But what was it that made your child decide to commit? The older swimmers we know all visited (prior to March of 2020) and made decisions based on those visits. Hard to get a feel for it over a computer screen. (Though we know several 2022 swimmers who have recently committed. My swimmer is 2022.)

malleesmom
Reply to  HeadTimer
22 days ago

It was definitely tough. Granted my swimmer had been on two visits in January 2020 so the list of questions and (ideal) answers were already established. Ultimately it came down to a relationship built via phone/video calls/text. Current team members sent texts willing to answer questions, offer insight, etc. The asst. coach did a great job of engagement and showing interest in my swimmer. Some coaches were less responsive and that played a role as well. As a class of 2022, there is time for sure. Once your swimmer has a few coach-calls under his/her belt, this screening process goes pretty quickly. Remember the process goes two ways. Does that team want your swimmer and does your swimmer want to… Read more »

HeadTimer
Reply to  malleesmom
22 days ago

My kid has had a number of calls; he is casting a wide net. But he’d like to visit and meet team members and coaches in person. Hopefully there will be time, as you said. Don’t know if he feels this way, but as a parent, I feel some pressure as other boys are giving verbals already for 2022. Anyway, thanks for your answers here. Appreciate the experience and insight. Good luck to your daughter at whichever school she chose. (which I’d love to know, of course)