Going to College Archive

Are Unofficial Visits to College Campuses Necessary? Based on updated NCAA Recruiting Rules

Begin the Selection Process Before Your Senior Year

An unofficial visit to a college campus by a prospective student-athlete is a visit made at the prospect’s own expense. There is no limit as to the number of unofficial visits a prospect can make or to how early in the recruitment process the visits can be made. If it is September 1 or after during the prospect's junior year in high school and the visit does not occur during a recruiting dead period, NCAA Division I coaches may meet with the prospect and their parents and also provide complimentary admissions to an on-campus athletics event. Official visits, which are financed by the school and limited to no more than five schools, can also occur either during a prospect’s junior or senior year in high school as long as they are not scheduled during a recruiting dead period.

During an unofficial visit, NCAA Division I coaches are permitted to meet with and speak to prospects and their parents beginning September 1 of the prospect’s junior year in high school. This provision in the NCAA Rules allows prospects to meet face to face with coaches on their campus to learn more about various schools and golf programs. In cases where the prospect is a highly-recruited athlete, the coach may invite them to take an official visit to campus and even present the prospect with a scholarship offer. This has led to more “early commitments” over the past several years. Official visits can now occur beginning September 1 of a prospect’s junior year in high school.

Junior golfers should always look for schools to visit near golf tournaments they are participating in. If this advice is followed in 9th and 10th grades, prospects will be better prepared to accurately target “good fits” as the college selection process intensifies in 11th and 12th grades. Keep in mind that although NCAA Division I coaches cannot meet with prospects prior to September 1 of the prospect’s junior year in high school, campus visits and general admissions tours can still be made. Most young people know very little about how colleges differ and until they visit the campuses, making it a challenge to select the right school to attend. Unofficial visits also provide an opportunity for prospects and NCAA Division I coaches to have face-to-face discussions on campus beginning September 1 of a prospect’s junior high school. Questions should be asked during the visit in order to help with the overall selection process. See the article titled What questions should I ask a college coach during a campus visit?.

To set up an unofficial visit and meeting with an NCAA Division I coach, (permissible beginning September 1 of a prospect's junior year in high school), you should email the coach with the request. Be specific on what you would like to do during the unofficial visit (see facilities, talk with the coach, meet some of the players, tour the campus, etc.) and provide open dates and times. In some cases, the coach and team may be traveling to a competition. If the coach is unavailable to meet, ask for a contact person in either the Athletic or Admissions Departments that could provide the campus tour. If the coach is very accommodating you will know they are sincerely interested in recruiting you. The reverse applies as well.

Plan your tournament schedule to include trips near by campuses you are interested in visiting. This is an economical and practical way to accomplish multiple tasks during the season. The experience will tremendously assist in the college selection process as well.

Start visiting schools today!

Coach Brooks
Red Numbers Golf®


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