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Recruiting 101
Unofficial Visits - More Important Than You Think

Some high school students take eight, ten, a dozen unofficial visits as part of their recruiting process. Some people might think that's a lot of unofficial visits, but it's really not. Since there is no limit on unofficial visits, why not take full advantage of your options?

Players are limited to five official visits. Coaches are also limited to the number of player they have the time and money to bring in. Getting a school and a player together for an official visit is a juggling act. The student-athlete must be extremely interested in the college, the coach needs to really want the player on his team, and all parties need to agree on timing.

Just because all three of those things aren't in sync doesn't mean that you need to give up on that seeing that school. It may be a good time for an unofficial visit. You can do this within your own time frame and without worrying about what the budget is or what the coach's schedule is like.

In fact, there may be a time where you deliberately want to go on a visit when the coach isn't around and that's something you can't do on an official visit. Maybe you want to concentrate on whether or not you even like the campus - or spend time with a friend that's already going there. Perhaps you are unsure if the academic standings or majors are a good fit for you. On an unofficial visit you can check all of these things out before you make any type of commitment to the team.

Opportunities for unofficial visits can also come up when you are playing tournaments. Although the University of Arizona may not be at the top of your list, if you are playing the Winter Nationals and already in the area, why not drop by the school and take a look around?

You could even find yourself in the opposite situation. Playing the USTA Boys' 18 National Team Championship will be more appealing if you'd like to unofficially check out the University of Illinois campus.

It could also be a matter of accompanying a friend or sibling. Even if you don't get into the Nationals at Kalamazoo, spending the week there while your brother plays will give you a chance to visit the college and the neighborhood. If your family is driving to Michigan, it won't cost anything to take you along.

As for neighborhoods, you might want to consider taking unofficial visits in your own. It would be a waste to use an official visit to spend time on a campus near your home. You can unofficially drop by as many times as you'd like to visit schools in and near your hometown.

Remember that unofficial visits can be used to see a school "incognito" or to make an appointment with the coach to discuss the team and take look around. Unlike the official visit, you won't be living with and hanging out with the team - and the school won't be taking care of your transportation expenses.

It's also still considered an unofficial visit if you make the plans to go on a tour with the admissions department.

Lastly, you don't need to wait until after your junior year in high school to take unofficial visits. You can begin to stop at campuses around the country at any time you want. While freshman and sophomore year may be too soon to make decisions about where you'd like to play college tennis, it's never too soon to start looking at campuses, getting a feel for the type of school you want, and where you want to spend your college years.


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About Marcia Frost

After years of running College And Junior Tennis and contributing to many other tennis publications, Marcia Frost is now freelancing full time. She writes regularly on tennis for Tennis Recruiting and Stack. Frost is also a college tennis advocate and has helped organize many college tennis showcases, where she acts as a featured speaker. She has written Monthly Guides To College Tennis Planning for H.S. Juniors and Seniors and is the author of American Doubles... the Trials... the Triumphs... the Domination.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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