Commentary

Well-planned campus visits are key to making the right college connection

We're starting to plan college visits for our high school children. They'd like to play soccer. What advance work should they be doing ahead of arriving on a campus?

For many high schoolers, campus visits are essential to making the right college connection.

Some student-athletes receive letters of interest from college coaches or invitations to make "official campus visits." Others might be taking an "unofficial" campus visit. Either way -- always be prepared.

Here are a few tips to help everyone make the most of their campus visits:

• Start by creating a personal player resume/profile -- and think of this like you were applying for a job.

• Contact admissions and schedule your campus tour.

• Most universities will interview you -- and they will ask questions -- so dress neatly and be prepared

• While on campus -- check out the library, dorm rooms, student center -- and pick up campus newspapers along with area community papers to see what's going on!

• Read the school mission, vision and values. You can impress admissions if you are prepared and ask questions about admissions, including early admissions.

• Find out if your test scores and standings will allow them to award you academic scholarships and or merit money. If you don't ask, you will never know.

• Be sure to always check out the alumni pages -- you just might be surprised who attended the college you are visiting!

• Check out the dean of the academic departments that interest you. If you have time and if it's possible, sit in on a lecture and learn how the class is taught.

(Photo courtesy of Harvard Public Affairs & Communications)

Never just show up. Always make an appointment with the athletic department/soccer coach/staff. Be sure to send your player resume/profile in advance if you are making an unofficial campus visit, and let them know the day/date/time you will be on campus and coordinate this with the admissions office, too. This will keep you on track and the school in the know -- besides it shows you have done your homework and are ready to explore all the aspects the school has to offer you.

Next -- for your meeting with the coaching staff -- read the coach's bio and always check out the current roster of players and size yourself up.

For parents. You have questions to ask and you deserve answers. Consider asking about mandatory study hall for soccer players. I am sure your child will not think to ask this one. You should also ask about tutors for athletes, and campus security. You will want to know your child is safe at night and what the ramifications are when rules are broken.

Follow up is essential. Always take a minute to send a personal thank-you note!

FURTHER READING: The College Process: Be Prepared, Proactive and Persistent

(Lisa Lavelle is President of The Sport Source, which has been connecting kids to college opportunities since 1989. For more information on The Sport Source’s Official Athletic College Guides, tools, and resources, go to www.TheSportSource.com, whose College Finder MATCHFIT can also be contacted toll free at 866.829.2606. Facebook.)

1 comment about "Well-planned campus visits are key to making the right college connection".
  1. Ric Fonseca, November 28, 2017 at 3:12 p.m.

    This article is, for all purposes, is well intentioned and is well meaning.  HOWEVER, (ha, say you, here comes the "however..." factor) the information listed is written with the intention to reach the upper middle-class families with kids that are student-athletes, who may or not have the necessary gpa requisites to get themselves enrolled in a "pretty nice" campus, i.e. kids who more than likely went to a private/parochial high school, and have had a pretty nice lifestyle afforded by their possibly millenial parents, and come from a 2-income household.  OK, so what say you? Well, pilgrims what riles the heck outta me is the mere fact that are not oriented, or counselled accordingly, and no, not just the innder-ciry student athlete, but yes, those in the periphery of academia.  I'd give a couple of buck to whomever can tell me the ratio of students to guidance/academic counselors, something may not even be found in thse schools the article mentions.  Oh, and BTW, take a good look at the idyllic setting of the photograph of the campus posted above. Yeah, nice place, but just the appearance makes the reader think that that campus ain't your typical campus, rather it smack dead on of a place somewhere in the mid-west/east coast, although I could also be a Southern California DIII campus, e.g. Champan, or Claremont, or even Occidental college.  Anyhow, my intent here is not to decry the author's work, yes it is needed, but as I've said in the past, why don't they alto "tailor" the needs for other much more needy students, those from the community colleges (note: does anyone know that California has more than 125 community colleges and only two (unless this has changed) junior colleges? Or junior colleges in othr states, and/or many of the so-called "inner city" state colleges and universities. Jeepers, this reminds me about an L.A. Times article that featured a young Latino/Hispanic kid from a South-Central Los Angeles high school, that has a great gpa, and was hoping to use his athletic soccer skills to land a scholarship or some grant-in-aid. I mention this because I wonder if anyone, other than the coach - a math instructor doubling as coach - was ever able to help him out?  

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