by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
This is your moment, Coach.
Your top prospect chose to come visit your school.
It will be a very important step in that recruit’s decision.
A great visit could be the thing that seals their commitment.
A poor visit could be the sign they were looking for to go elsewhere.
You need to crush this visit. So, make sure these two ingredients are prominent as you plan this experience:
1) Interaction with your current team
If there could only be one activity done on the entire campus visit, this would be it.
One of the main things your recruit wants to figure out on this trip is whether or not they’ll fit in with the team.
If they have committed to a campus visit, there are probably a lot of boxes that have been checked already. Things like academics, price, and location. They’re at least content with how those aspects of your school seem to appear.
One of the big boxes that is still unchecked is if they will be welcomed by your team and have fun being part of it. They want to figure that out in person.
So, as you plan for this big visit, make sure you give the recruit plenty of time to interact with your team. At least 50% of the visit should be your prospect just hanging out with the team. Especially the younger athletes that they’ll most likely be teammates with.
But, include your current athletes in other aspects of the visit too. Use them during the campus tour. Have them grab lunch with the prospect.
The more opportunities your recruit has to get to know your team, the more confident they will be about how well they will fit in with your athletes.
Of course, this could go wrong.
The recruit might feel they don’t fit in after interacting with your team. But, that may end up being a blessing in disguise. Because if they came anyways, it may have disrupted the team chemistry in a way that could really harm your team culture.
But, hopefully you’ve got a great group on your team and you need to give your recruit a lot of chances to get to know them. Otherwise, they will still be unsure about you when they go home after the visit.
2) Parent involvement
90% of recruits say that their parents influenced their decision in some way.
If the parents are not involved in the campus visit, that is a massive opportunity to affect their influence that is wasted.
The first step is to ensure that either mom or dad (preferably both) are coming on the visit. If not, that is a red flag.
If only one parent is able to come, find a way to involve the other parent. Sometimes the one that isn’t there ends up having more sway in the recruit’s final decision.
Offer to FaceTime or Zoom call the other parent during a certain part of the visit. Make sure you allow them to experience the visit it some way. And you doing this will on its own help you stand out to them.
Give the parents time with you, the coach, without the recruit around. Mom and dad might have questions that they don’t feel comfortable asking or talking about in front of their son or daughter.
Give the parents time with your athletes, without you around. They might also have questions about you that they want to ask your athletes.
If you can hook the parents on the visit, it will go a long way in influencing the athlete to ultimately choose you.
Dan Christensen helps college coaches build their programs through his work at Tudor Collegiate Strategies. If you have questions about Dan’s article or how he and the team at TCS can help give you an edge in recruiting, email him at email@example.com.