Thoughtful Parenting: College tours, visits and interviews for student athletes |

Thoughtful Parenting: College tours, visits and interviews for student athletes

The old adage is true: You only get one chance to make a first impression. Here’s a “to-do list” to help ensure your university, college or trade school visit is a success.

Just the facts:

Official collegiate athletic visits cannot be made until the opening day of class senior year, no matter what division. The date will vary depending on your university or college.

You may only take ONE official visit per institution, no matter the division.

The NCAA allows each school (DI, DII and DIII) to offer official visits, but each school differs in policy and budget.

Coaches usually offer official visits to their top recruits. You must be invited on an official visit by a coach; you cannot invite yourself on one.

Per NCAA rules, you are allowed to take no more than five official visits to Division I and/or Division II schools and you can only take one visit, per school.

General guidelines:

Coaches will usually extend an official visit offer during an email or phone conversation with you, but you do not have to wait for them to make the first move. It is okay to be upfront with the coach and ask him/her if they plan to offer you an official visit.

Tell them that you are in the process of scheduling your official visits and you would like to know so you can plan accordingly. This will also show the coach that you are being seriously recruited at other places.

On your official visit, make it a priority to get a good feel for the college as a whole. You need to evaluate the campus, the students, your prospective teammates and the coaches. Ask yourself, “Is this a place where I can see myself being comfortable and happy, for four years, even if I could not play my sport?”

If you are visiting your number one choice and feel comfortable committing, go for it! If you have other visits pending or feel you need more time, tell the coach you want to take your other official visits, just to make sure you make an educated decision.

College interview tips:

Over dress as opposed to under dress. We typically recommend nice jeans and a dress shirt on your visit. Some Ivy League and higher-academic schools that have a more conservative feel in general prefer recruits in a suit-and-tie. When in doubt, give the coach or institution a call.

A firm handshake, introduction, and eye contact should be offered to everyone you meet while on your visit. If you have a student business card, present it.

Try and articulate in an academic voice (clear tone), responding with a polite and complete “yes” and “no” or “excuse me” and “thank you” when necessary – (NOT “yeah” or “nah” “huh” or “what”).

Have fun, don’t be nervous, be yourself and allow your community, friends, family and coaches to be proud.

Be confident – you’ve proven yourself athletically and academically. They invited you to visit and share your story for a reason.

While it is never too late to think about college and higher education, early concise preparation can help smooth the way. Do you have additional concerns or specific questions about what coaches and colleges are asking of you?

We can provide families with a canvas of choices on various aspects on the college recruiting process. This initial snapshot of the college visitation process should help students and their parents begin to navigate the beginning steps of college entrance.

Colorado Student Care staff can assist with guidance and support for families during this transition.

George Avgares is the executive director for Colorado Student Care in Steamboat Springs. He’s been involved in the youth educational nonprofit sector for 16 years. Avgares is a member of the Routt County Youth Services Coalition, whose website can be found at

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