Everything You Need To Know For Your Official Recruiting Trip Visit

Contributor Rick Paine is an expert on the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). AAC is a Swimswam Partner. 

The NCAA has removed restrictions on official visits beginning June 1. This was called a dead period where coaches are not allowed to meet recruits in person on their campus. The dead period still exists, but only around the beginning of the signing period in November which is the second Wednesday in November for high school seniors.

Here are some recruiting trip tips to maximize your experience and get the coaches to really want you.

Homework before the visit:

Look up the coaches’ bio so you can engage them when you meet them. Look up their news articles the coaches posted at the end of the season so you know what they are excited about.

Know what kind of times it takes to score at conference.

Get the coaches’ cell number in case you get delayed on your way so you can let them know.

Practice your handshake. Pretty much every coach you will meet will have a lot of self-confidence and many of them develop a first impression with your hand shake and eye contact.

Get questions together that are important for you to ask the coaches.

If the visit is considered “official” still ask what it will cost. If a coach buys you a hotdog on a trip it become official. You are allowed 5 official visits to D-I schools. All others are unlimited. Many schools will offer to pay your room and board while you are on campus, but will expect you to pay for your plane ticket so ask.

During the visit:

Stand up and look the coaches in the eye when you meet them.

Turn off your cell phone.

Take notes and ask a lot of questions of the coaches and other swimmers.

Spend as much time as you need to check out the academics and make sure it could be a good fit. Most coaches will appreciate that you value an education.

Before you accepted the trip you should have asked about scholarship or the cost of attendance. If you didn’t, then you need to ask during the visit if the opportunity presents itself.

It is fine for your parents to go with you on the trip. A lot of coaches will judge you on how you treat your parents.

If you get a chance to watch a practice, actually watch it and stay off your cell phone. This should be a very important part of the trip, but a lot of recruits use the time in the bleachers to catch up on the social media accounts and text messages. Now is NOT the time to check your phone.

Ask intelligent questions of the coaches and please don’t ask “how much yardage you do in practice.” A good question is to ask who would be your primary coach and in what events they see you helping out the team.

After the visit:

When you get home let the coaches know you arrived safely and thank them for their interest and time. Not a bad idea to mail a thank you.

Thank your student host. It take a lot of time and energy to host a recruit the right way. It is permissable to send a small thank you gift.


It is certainly OK for you to go on the visit with your recruit, but know that you won’t be able to hang out with them very much.

If you are asked by the coach to attend a meeting with your swimmer this does not mean the coach will be engaging you very much. Make sure you don’t answer for your swimmer when the coach asks a question.

Be yourself and sell your potential.

ACC Recruiting is a SwimSwam ad partner. Go here and learn more about ACC and their team of college recruiting experts. 

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Disgruntled and average class of 2021 swimmer
4 months ago

Yes I can’t wait to go on my first recruiting visit after decision day already happened!


omg same !

4 months ago

Remember to not be hung over during your visit with the HC!

Reply to  SwimFani
4 months ago

I disagree, it’s good to get the real college experience

GM burner account
Reply to  SwimFani
4 months ago

nah it builds character to resist laying on the floor of the pool deck and taking a nap while attempting to watch the practice the morning after

Coach Steve
4 months ago

Great advice. Just to throw in a little extra tip just from personal experience, I’d highly recommend scheduling your visit beforehand.

When I took my kids on their official visits (top 10 schools only), we ended up getting a hotel every time. We knocked on nearly every swimmers door but none of them would take us in even though my children are state wrestling champions in the 285 lbs division. Coaches weren’t there to talk to us too despite our excellent manners. A tip to hosts: if a recruit knocks on your door, please let them stay!

Rick Paine
Reply to  Coach Steve
4 months ago

Great advice. Lining up a visit beforehand is a must. College coaches don’t appreciate a recruit knocking on their door requesting a meeting.

Reply to  Coach Steve
4 months ago

Surely you’re not suggesting that college kids just open their door to some random-a$$ stranger off the street that claims to be a recruit?

Reply to  GOML
4 months ago

I mean cmon if you open the door as a swimmer and you see a 285 pound high school wrestler standing in front of you saying that they’re the second coming of Michael Phelps, how do you NOT let them stay the night

Coach Steve
Reply to  PVSFree
4 months ago

Thank you PVSFree – swim recruits are very different from “random-a$$ strangers!”

Reply to  Coach Steve
4 months ago

Point, missed.

4 months ago

While taking notes is maybe good when your discussing details with the coach or if going to an info session, taking the notes the whole trip is likely going to be odd for the team. Part of the trips are just conversing and getting to know the team and for the team to get to know you, which taking notes during every conversation is probably going to make that very uncomfortable

Reply to  swimswamswum
4 months ago

I think this comment probably shows your age. Don’t take that as an attack, but…you’re probably picturing carrying aroudn a notebook and pencil and writing things during conversations.

The kids are on their phones all day anyway. Tapping out a few words after a conversation on how you felt, what you heard that you liked, what you heard that you didn’t like, can be crucial to this decision-making process. You’ll never recapture your first reaction to things, your first impression, and not taking notes can leave you more vulnerable to a spin-doctor coach gaslighting you.

(I mean, I know that’s counter to Rick’s prior advice about “turn off your cell phone,” but I’d tend to disagree with that advice more… Read more »