by Greg Carroll, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
Most of you are finally able to get recruits on campus for visits. We can now showcase our great campuses and all the terrific things waiting for them when they commit!
But wait! It’s summer and there’s NO ONE here! That’s not what we want!!!
Agreed. It’s not what you want. Ideally you want your recruits and their families to visit when there are tons of things going on. You want them to meet your team, see a game, actually see themselves on your campus and mixing with the other students. None of that is possible when they visit your campus during the summer which is why we discourage visits during those weeks and months.
Despite the challenges of putting together the kind of visit you would love your prospects to have you can still have a productive outcome with a summer visit and here are a few suggestions.
- The backdrop of a quieter campus provides the perfect opportunity to have quality time with your recruit and their family without distraction. It’s a great chance to talk about what they can expect as the rest of the recruiting process plays out, including your timeline
“Greg, we typically wrap up our recruiting by February 1 so that’s when we will be making our decisions and expect our recruits to be making theirs.”
This is also a good time to dig into those impactful, open ended questions that will help you tell the story of your program and why you are not only different from others they’re considering but also what makes you a better choice. A summer visit is the perfect time to make that prospect and family feel like they are the only recruit you are considering and they are the most important thing at that time. Make the time you have on this visit that chance to have a real conversation, getting to know them, focus on relationship building and less on selling. That can come later.
- A summer visit is not the time to offer an overnight or an extended day on campus. Save that experience for their next visit when classes are in session, your athletes are around, etc. Even if you’re a great conversationalist, your recruit is only going to be interested in talking with you for so long. Keep the visit short, create some curiosity about what they can expect when they come back and give them a reason to come for a second visit.
“Greg, when you come back for our recruit day in the fall we’re going to match you with a player in the degree you want and they can take you through their day and you’ll be able to watch a practice.”
A summer visit of two to three hours is more than sufficient.
- Take advantage of the fact that during the summer your campus is looking its best. Every school puts on their finest attire for commencement so it already looks great. But it’s also a great time to show them a dorm because summer cleaning has occurred so housing looks great (always a hit with their parents who want to see their son/daughter living in an healthy, safe environment.) Similarly, your athletic facilities are coming off a busy year and they too are looking rested and ready for the next year. This is the perfect opportunity to move the bulk of your conversation from inside your office out to the field if that fits your sport. Regardless, try to spend as much time outside as possible. Usually there are fountains, gardens, nearby lakes or ponds, etc. that make for terrific places to have productive conversations.
- The summer may provide the opportunity to spend time with other individuals on campus who might not be as available during the year. Maybe time with the athletic director, a dean, or perhaps the president depending on your campus. All these add value to their visit and your program.
- During the summer visit be sure to spend time talking about the process they can expect moving forward. When they need to apply, what they need to provide you as part of your evaluation, when they should plan on coming back, all those things. As stated earlier, be sure to give them a reason for coming back and what they can expect from that visit.
Recruits and their families are anxious to visit your campus. We always encourage coaches not to rush to get the prospect on your campus. But if they are asking to visit and you have been telling your story consistently, across varied mediums, and you feel they’re ready for a visit, you don’t want to put it off to the fall. If you say no to their request because you worry about it being summer they will think you are hiding something or have a hidden agenda. Just follow these tips and you’ll have a great outcome.
One final note: If you’d like to dig deeper into campus visits, you should get Dan Tudor’s book, “Freaking Awesome Campus Recruiting Visits”. It really goes into a lot of detail on the latest research on what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to successful recruiting visits that you host. You can find it here.