Fall is a popular time of year for prospective students and their families to visit colleges; classes are in session, fall sports have started up, and the crisp air (ok, only in some areas!) all combine to create a truly “collegiate” atmosphere. When on an official visit, it’s important to make the most of the opportunity, as it may be the only time you’ll get to explore what the school has to offer before deciding whether to commit or look elsewhere. To take full advantage of access to the staff and team, make sure you prepare ahead of time by making a list of questions to ask. Take a look at some of the suggestions below to help jump-start your own list.
Questions for the Coaches and Staff:
How many others in my class have committed?
What position(s) do you see me in?
Follow ups: Are you recruiting others for this spot? If so, where do I fall in the rankings?
How would you describe your coaching style? Communication style?
What is your long term goal as a coach?
This may seem strange, but it can give you great insight into the coach’s inner workings and help you gauge whether they’re looking to leave their current program anytime soon.
How would you describe the team’s style of play?
What does a typical practice session look like?
Follow ups: What’s the general practice schedule like in and out of season? How often do we have strength and conditioning sessions in the fall/winter/spring?
Can (and do) players study abroad? Are players penalized for studying abroad?
Typically, how much school can I expect to miss over the course of a season?
Do you have required study halls? Is there an academic advisor for the team?
Questions for the Team:
What has your experience with the coach been like? What’s their communication style?
This can help you determine if there are any gaps between players and coaches. Does the coach’s answer to this question match up with those of the players? If not, how different are the responses?
Do teammates hang out together outside of soccer? In the off-season?
What’s a typical in-season day like for you?
What’s your least favorite part of being on the team here?
What’s your most favorite part of being on the team here?
What does the off-season look like for you?
Is there time to be social on campus in (and out) of season?
Think: attending parties, tailgates, other sports’ games, joining clubs on campus.
How does the team handle conflict among teammates?
Is anyone on the team studying your intended major?
Ask specifics: Is it difficult balancing those classes with soccer? How would they rate the quality of professors? Are professors understanding of athletic commitments and do they work with the players when away games come up? What’s the workload like per night?
What was the most challenging part of your transition athletically and socially from high school to college?
While official visits can be intimidating, remember that this is the coaching staff's time to market their school and program to you. By asking questions, you’re showing your depth, your preparedness, and that you take this process seriously. The answers to your questions will also help you make the most well-informed decision about where to attend and play.
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Chris Bart-Williams is the founder and owner of CBW Soccer Elite. After an extensive career in the English Premier League, Chris now uses his vast soccer knowledge to assist families throughout the college recruiting process and prepare players for the mental and physical challenges of collegiate soccer. You can reach Chris at email@example.com.