Tips on Official College Visits?

Hey Everyone,
I am a senior heading to an official college visit. What are the things I should AVOID doing? I don’t mean obvious things like don’t do drugs/drink. I am talking about smaller things, like if it is important to make a very conscious effort to connect to the current players? Is there anything/ideas I should avoid expressing to the coach?
Thanks for any help!

You should definitely try to meet as many of the team and other recruits as possible.

Know that sarcasm doesnt always get picked up by people who dont know you well, so be careful on that front.

Make sure that you have a chance to speak to student athletes one on one to see how they feel. Sometimes you get different perspectives than from what will be said in a group or in front of the coach.

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Better to err on the side of being humble vs trying to impress your future teammates through bragging.

Your goal is to learn about the program while being yourself. Yes, chat with members of the team to learn about them and the team culture. Don’t go overboard with trying to connect, just be who you are. Coaches want athletes who are committed to the sport, good to their teammates, and relatively mature and responsible. Don’t do things that make you seem to be the opposite of those. Coaches appreciate honest questions from recruits serious about the program and the school.


Dress a little nice- no ripped jeans or sweats for the time you spend with coaches. (If you go out later with the team you can be usual self.) Ask ALL the question of the coach and players- how do they balance sport/academics, what supports are available for mental health and academics, are you able to study abroad or take an internship and if so, how does impact your position on the team, etc. Be yourself and be KIND. I can’t tell you how many coaches told my kid that they stood because they were humble, authentic and kind! Make sure you’re clear on the agenda and if you are going with parent/guardian be sure that YOU ask the coach which parts of the visit your parents t/guardian should attend. Good luck and have fun!

One thing I thought would have been common sense but have heard multiple times is of recruits talking a lot of the other visits they’re going on around the teammates, make sure that your entire focus is on the school you’re currently at!


Good job. Being invited on an OV doesn’t guarantee coach support through admissions, but indicates that you have more than caught the coach’s eye. The primary purpose is to get you interested in the school rather than to weed out the bad eggs. So, enjoy it. Have some fun and use it to decide whether you like the school.

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On an official visit, what is expected of the parents? Do coaches typically want to speak with parents at the end of the visit? If so, what is usually discussed? I assume they will tell us if we need to be there? Thank you for your help!

For our track kids the parental role was to drop them off at the airport, tell them to enjoy the process and be themselves, then pick them up when they came home.

That was pretty typical for all the track parents we know. I don’t think I know of any parents who went along on OVs, except maybe to drop the recruit off if campus was driving range. Maybe others had different experiences.

If you do happen to end up in a conversation with the coach, I think I’d just be prepared to ask about the process (how does admission work), any specifics of scholarship or support offers (if any) just so you’re clear, and then anything you want to know about the program. Coaches do this all the time and answer the same questions over and over. They’re good at it usually. Mostly they want to get to know your kid.


Thank you! This is helpful. I didn’t think that we attended, but wanted to be sure! Should she be fortunate and receive an offer, do they speak with the athete directly or are parents involved? I figure this doesn’t happen at the OV.

In my experience they communicate with the athlete directly. Some will say something like just have your parents call if they have questions.

Timing varies. Sometimes offers will come during or even before the OV but I think in many cases the coaches want to see how the recruit fits (or doesn’t) with the team and will follow up a few days after to discuss. I know for sure coaches will discuss recruits with existing athletes during and after the visit.

I’d just have the athlete be ready in case an offer comes but don’t fret if it doesn’t. My advice is usually to say: really excited/honored, love the school/program/coaches, would like to take some time to let this settle in and/or complete other visits, do I have some time to give an answer (and get specific on whether there’s a deadline).

Usually track coaches give the recruits time to complete visits, so I’d expect they’d all be good if a recruit says they’ll be completing visits in the next few weeks and then will decide. But double check that with the coaches.

I’ve known a few athletes who decided a day after the second visit, canceled the rest of the visits and were done. Some recruits take 3-4 visits and that’s enough. Everyone is different.


I am guessing it varies by coach and program. For crew we never had a request from a coach to speak with them. Our child handled it all - also we were not asking for financial assistance, so maybe that is another reason they never asked to speak with us. We stayed in the background - not easy to do for this parent :slight_smile:


I also think it varies.

My D only did unofficial visits, with no overnights.

I went on them all, but made myself scarce…did an admissions session/tour on my own, etc. Only one coach pulled me in for the initial meeting, said ‘mom, this is important stuff I want you to hear’, and I got out of there as fast as I could.

Ultimately when offers were being made, either my H or I got on the phone/zoom at the end to make sure everyone was speaking the same language. All offers had sunset dates. The timing can be difficult, my D turned down one offer without another one in hand because she didn’t feel a good fit with the school, although she liked the coach and team a great deal.


This is fantastic feedback!

What is a sunset date? I assume an offer that requires a quick response? While this journey has its ups and downs, what a great experience for the kids. Should she get lucky and get an offer, we will have to figure out questions that she should ask. If you have any suggestions, fire away!

Sunset date is any offer that has a deadline. Could be a day, a week, a month. Make sure your D knows when it is. Some coaches are not great communicators!

If she does get an offer I would follow what politeperson wrote above, and ask what the next steps are and the timing. Even if she LOVES the visit, she should still sleep on it at least a night. IMHO of course.

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Sunset date is a nicer way to describe what we called “exploding offers.” One of my son’s friends was given 48 hours to make a decision. That’s on the extreme end, but it happens.

My son wasn’t given an expiration date necessarily on the one he ultimately took, but was told that there are only so many to go out, so the sooner he took it the better. He was originally planning on a July decision (this was January) and there was at least the implication that the offer may not still be open then. I was also talking to the coach at that point, so I asked for clarification. It was mid-season his junior year, and he had not done a visit to campus yet. The coach clarified that it was not a problem to hold it open through S’s spring break which was his first chance to visit, and to then give us a reasonable amount of time to process the visit. A coach from a different school saw me at a tournament later that summer (a couple months after S verbally accepted this offer and turned his down) and said that their offer would probably stay open for a while if he changed his mind.

It really depends on where you fall on their list, and how the coach is prioritizing just getting things wrapped up. It’s all a big puzzle, and they may want to get a few pieces locked down that include your S or D’s position, or maybe academic level, even if there is less of a push overall.

As with almost everything here, YMMV. It’s great to get some info here, but in the end you have to ask the coach what the parameters are, because it is different from coach to coach and even player to player.

The other thing I will say is that in reality, every offer is subject to getting abruptly pulled if an athlete falls to the coach that they didn’t expect. I know that in my son’s case, there was another athlete that was his size that they were also recruiting, and if that athlete had unexpectedly accepted an offer my son’s may have vanished, regardless of the coach saying it would stay open.

But I also knew that particular athlete was unlikely to go forward with an Ivy, because the finances didn’t really work for the family, they were in the gap where it would have been pretty expensive, but they didn’t make so much that it didn’t matter. And he was good enough to probably get a full scholarship to Michigan, who was also after him. So the math was pretty tough for them. That was enough to give me confidence that if S waited 2 months to visit, he wasn’t likely to lose his offer. (There are advantages to being in a niche sport where pretty much everyone knows everyone)


My son took 3 official visits in the fall of his senior year. He had more offers, but didn’t want to miss XC season. The visits were each 2 weeks apart. We operated under the assumption that official visits would be public knowledge, and therefore told all of the coaches he was speaking with when his visits would be (but didn’t specify the schools). The first visit meant he had to miss a local invitational race, and MileSplit published the school son was visiting in their article about that race (they were told by a different coach). Good thing he was up front with coaches!

The coach of the first visit understood he wanted to complete his visits before making a choice, and told him they would let him know if the available slots started to fill up. They wouldn’t necessarily hold a slot for him, but they were not going to surprise him by having the last slot go away without warning, either. The coach of the third visit was worried S would be pressured to commit before he had a chance to visit, and told S they could pull a quick trip together earlier if that was an issue.

In the end, Son was able to make his decision after all three visits were completed. It was hard for him to make the calls to tell the other coaches no, but he felt everyone handled things well.

This all makes sense and is very helpful! I have no idea where she is on the board for her visits - hopefully high enough! One more question… if your kid has an official lined up, is he/she supposed to keep updating coaches with things? I know that this is a very busy time for coaches with athletes arriving on campus and preseason camps! She has run some very early hot preseason races, but nothing in the world of a PR!

I had a Covid-era kid, so there weren’t any official visits. But, we found that once direct communications started between our son and a coach (text/phone), there wasn’t a need for formal updating. We could tell that those coaches started keeping track of his meets on or similar, so they already knew what was happening. Of course, if there was a PR involved, that was always exciting news to share via text.