As a former Division 1 athlete, I personally understand the significance of college recruiting visits. Having coaches invite you onto their campuses for a personal visit is among the more exciting experiences of the college recruitment process. But what I failed to realize prior to my college visits was the preparation involved.
Here are 5 things I wish I knew to ask prospective coaches during my recruiting visits:
Are there any majors I am not allowed to pursue?
Asking a coach if there are any majors you are not allowed to pursue is a crucial question when exploring different universities. Just because the school offers the major you are interested in does not necessarily mean you are permitted by the coach to pursue it. This is because some of the major requirements and courses could interfere with practice times. For example, majors with a heavy course load in labs such as biology or physical therapy could potentially cause a problem because these required labs are typically offered at night, which could overlap with practice times. Majors such as education that require full-time student teaching your senior year could also cause an overlap with practice and student teaching. So be sure to discuss this with coaches on visits.
What kind of academic support does the university provide?
Questions such as “What are the study hall requirements?” and “How often does a student-athlete meet with the academic advisor?” are important. Additionally, many universities provide personal tutors for athletes who are struggling in specific courses. From my experience the personal tutors my academic advisor set me up with was one of the biggest benefits of playing a college sport. When I would have to miss multiple classes a week due to traveling to competitions it was easy to fall behind in my courses. The tutors would then catch me up on the materials missed and help me prepare for upcoming exams.
Does my sport require me to stay on campus for holiday breaks and summers?
Depending on the sport and the coach’s philosophy, it is a possibility that you may be required to stay on campus for practice during summer and winter break. Even though there is no way around controlling what your coach requires, it is nice to know going in whether you will be allowed to travel home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Spring Break. If your sport is in the fall or winter typically you will not be able to go home for Thanksgiving and only have a 2-5-day break for the winter holidays. From my experience not being able to travel home for breaks to see family and friends can be tough, however you get to spend time with your team and other sports teams on campus building stronger friendships and making lifelong memories together.
Am I allowed to study abroad for a semester?
Studying abroad for a semester is not only a growing trend among college students but also a life-changing experience. If this is something that interests you, find out if your coach allows you to study abroad during your offseason. Some college programs even partake in trips abroad as a team and compete overseas. This is another fun perk to find out if your potential school offers. If studying abroad is not something interests you or is not allowed also find out if you can participate in completing summer internships.
Does my academic advisor sign up for classes on my behalf?
This is great to know because being an athlete, you can only take courses at specific times that do not interfere with practice times. If your academic advisor is responsible for enrolling you in courses, this eliminates the stress of not getting into the classes you need to fulfill your degree requirements on time.
Jen attended Elon University in North Carolina. There she ran Division 1 Track & Field specializing in the 400m hurdles. She won three consecutive conference championships and made three NCAA appearances. She then continued her track career at Wake Forest University to complete a graduate degree and compete at a national scale. She now lives in Denver, Colorado working at Student-Athlete Showcase helping young athletes fulfill their dreams of playing sports at the collegiate level.