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.