What is happening in recruiting as a result of coronavirus?
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the college recruiting process in many ways, creating unexpected challenges for coaches and recruits alike. The first major announcement in early March 2020 called for an abrupt end to the winter and spring sport seasons, followed by the suspension of in-person recruiting. Since then, we’ve seen college campuses close, tournaments and camps cancelled, eligibility relief granted and more. You can review our recent coverage of the impact of coronavirus on college recruiting on the NCSA blog:
- NCAA suspends in-person recruiting through May 31, 2021 for D1 programs; in-person recruiting to resume June 1, 2021
- Extra year of eligibility available to spring sports
- College campuses are closed or closing, including camps
- 2019-2020 Signing period has changed and all D1/D2 sports can sign until August 1st
Despite these challenges, student-athletes have proven to be resilient in their efforts to get recruited. When it comes to official and unofficial visits, here’s how recruits can replace in-person recruiting with virtual experiences.
Tips for visiting college campuses virtually
Official and unofficial visits are a pivotal part of the college recruiting process that largely impact a recruit’s decision. Student-athletes have an opportunity to scope out the campus, meet and interact with the current team and have in-person one-on-one time with the coaching staff. With visits off the table due to the coronavirus, this is how student-athletes are still visiting college campuses.
Virtual tours in lieu of visiting in person. While a virtual tour isn’t the same as physically walking around campus, it gives student-athletes an opportunity to virtually walk the campus as they explore the grounds, classrooms, academic resource spaces, athletic facilities and more. We’ve compiled a list of college campuses in each state that feature virtual campus tours online. You can also find the latest COVID-19 updates and information on campus closures.
Research the school’s surrounding community. A quick Google search of the local area around the school gives student-athletes an idea of what they have access to in the community. How close is the nearest grocery store? What restaurants are nearby? What types of activities are available? Student-athletes are deciding where they are going to spend four (or more) years, so it’s important that both the campus and the community meet their needs.
Contact current team members. While recruits aren’t able to get to know the team during an overnight visit, they should ask the coaching staff to put them in contact with a few members of the team. Over a phone call or video chat, student-athletes can ask team members questions about their experience and the team dynamic.
Request virtual face-to-face time with the coach. College coaches are relying on digital forms of communication to have important recruiting conversations with student-athletes. Be assertive and ask the coaching staff to meet with you virtually to get a feel for their personality and ask important questions.
Here are a few tips to make a good impression via virtual conversation:
- Dress to impress: You may be in the comfort of your own home, but you should dress how you would if you were meeting with the coach in person.
- Remove distractions: Find a quiet space with a neutral background. Notify everyone in your house about the call to prevent interruptions.
- Sit up straight, but don’t be stiff: It’s important to sit up straight and be attentive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be expressive with your hands and body to show the coach your personality.
- Make eye-contact: First, you’ll want to make sure the camera is at eye level in front of you. When talking, you should look at your camera as if you are talking to a person in front of you and trying to maintain eye contact. If your eyes are looking around the room, it can be perceived as a lack of interest.
- Be prepared: Show up to the video call prepared to answer questions and ask questions. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your interest in a program, as well as gain clarity on anything you are uncertain about.