Hi! Daughter is a junior and just getting letters of interest. One college has been communicating regularly and invited her to visit. She is all excited and ready to go... I am telling her to wait and see who she speaks with and is interested. This college is across the country and it is a big expense... How important is a college visit to get an offer. I would be more willing to go look if I knew they were serious about her.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this!!!
With college volleyball recruiting, the unofficial visit is the key visit in today's world, as opposed to the old school Official Visit. The challenge is determining which unofficial visits to take, because families have unlimited visits but they must pay the bill. College coaches/programs have no hesitation to invite a player, because it costs them nothing and it allows them to better populate their recruiting reach.
The key to any visit is clear communication; communication between family members and communication with the college coach.
Before any thought of a visit occurs, the family must be clear as to their recruiting comfort zone. Look at GAAS - Geography, Athletics, Academics, Social - If everyone is in agreement on GAAS, then that school is a possibility.
Before traveling to a school, the family must be direct with the college coach - You don't want to travel to a school, unless there is a clear understanding of where your daughter stands in the recruiting process. Family must get over any discomfort they feel asking about their daughter's standing - Remember….this is a business for college coaches, don't worry about their feelings.
- If the college coach tells you that your PSA is their #1 recruit, then your next question should be the timing of a scholarship offer - If she is #1, then they should offer if they are being truthful. I would be comfortable with going on an unofficial visit if they said she was #1 recruit.
- If your daughter is #2, then still ask about their scholarship offer timing; after their answer, you would need to look at cost of visit. If they are drivable or cheap flight for 2, then I would go. If it is expensive, then I would wait a bit longer.
- If they hesitate or don't give you clear answer, then I would not go on an invited visit unless it is just a local/regional school and only go on the visit if you feel it would be a good comparison school to others.
Families must move away from the mentality that they 'have' to go on a visit to 'get' an offer - The offer may well be presented during the visit, but that offer or no offer of a scholarship, should be known during the visit. While your visit is important for college coaches, it is the last 'check' on a player when considering an offer. For families, the visit is critical because you have so much to process. Let the PSA go in wide eyed and all excited, but the parents absolutely must be the adults in the room, casting a critical eye on all that is seen and listening with concern to all that is said.
Bottom line is ASK the college coaches where your PSA stands and what their scholarship plans on. It is your money, it is your time and it is your daughter.