With just a few weeks before school starts — and even less time, if you’re an athlete staring down fall tryouts before the first day of classes — there’s little to no time left for you to schedule visits to a prospective college you’re considering.
And that might actually be a good thing.
It might sound counterintuitive, but scheduling your prospective college visit for a time when you and your family will be busy and uncomfortable will actually be perfect.
Here are our top reasons why.
Take prospective college visits when you’re busy with school and sport
Many student-athletes and their families take visits during their summer or winter breaks, when there are less time management conflicts and less, overall, to worry about.
The problem with taking a prospective college visit at this time is that all of the current college students will be gone, too. And it’s so hard to understand the energy of a place without any students there.
Do people actually follow the quiet signs in the library?
Are there groups of people studying in a quad or commons, or does everyone hurry to the next building?
Where do the athletes who might be your future teammates hang out?
Try to carve out some time during the busy school year, because there’s nothing like seeing a college in action to get a sense for the campus.
Eat at the dining hall, especially if the food looks gross
When you’re visiting with your parents or a group from your school, it might be tempting to go out to dinner as a group. And there are probably going to be some delicious places on or near campus, no matter if you’re visiting an urban or a rural campus.
But when you’re at the school, you’re probably going to be eating at the dining hall way more often than you’ll be eating off-campus. Especially because athletes need to eat for peak performance.
So pay for a dining pass, sample the goods, and ask yourself: Could you imagine yourself eating up to three meals a day here?
The same goes for visiting your team’s locker room, introducing yourself to your coach, visiting the library, and testing out the walk from the freshman dorms to buildings where your classes could be scheduled.
Does this seem like something you’d like to do for four years?
Don’t hang out with your family on a prospective college visit
At least for a little while, ask your parents if you can spend time away from them on the campus. (Obviously you should have a set time and place to meet up later, and be safe.)
Pretty soon, you’ll be expected to be on this campus by yourself. And it’s pretty telling, if you aren’t comfortable wandering around right now by yourself, that there’s something that’s not sitting right with you about this campus.
What is it? And is it something that could change by the time you would be a student-athlete here?
Be relaxed and have fun on your prospective college visits. Be polite and say thank you to any coaches and current athletes whom you meet. Take notes, and talk openly to your family about what you like and dislike about the school. It will all pay off when it comes time to narrow down your options based on your specific sport.
While you’re visiting prospective colleges, be sure you have something you can show college coaches about how you’d fit on their roster. How about a complete snapshot of you as an athlete? The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.