Unofficial football recruiting visits: Should I take them and if so, what time of the year should I be taking them?

Unofficial football recruiting visits: Should I take them and if so, when?One of the more popular ways that readers out there stumble upon our websites is by using google and other search engines.  One of the most searched phrases that brings people to this site regards unofficial football visits.  I can’t really say what makes it so popular but I felt the need to break it down more thoroughly.

For those that do not know, an unofficial recruiting visit to a school is where you pay to travel to a college.  During the unofficial visit, you may talk to the coaches, tour the campus, learn more about academics, see a practice, of even watch a game during the fall.  There really are a great deal of options when taking this type of visits because it is on your own dime.

To answer the first question posed above, there is no doubt that if you have the resources (A reliable car and the money to pay for ever increasing gas) you should be taking in these unofficial visits.  However, that is not always the case for every athlete.  When I was in high school, I actually only made one unofficial visit because my family lacked a dependable car that would have no problem traveling long distances.  So really, it does depend a lot on your situation.

There are many other options to take if you actually can not get up their on your own.  The first option is to speak with your high school coach about eventually making the unofficial visit to a school you’d like to see.  Also see if you have any relatives or friends in the area that may be able to help with transportation to the school.  At the very least, your chauffeur will get to see the school and learn more about it with you.

So lets say that you have a dependable ride all set and you are excited to get a chance to learn more about the different schools that are recruiting you.  When would be the best time for an unofficial visit?  The answer to that question really depends on what you are looking to get out of the trip.

If you want to get to know more about the coaches and become better acquainted, the time to do this is out of season.  You could consider a Junior Day visit (Although there may be many other prospects there) or potentially talking to the coaches about coming up for a day during the week.  If the school is serious about you as a recruit, they will just want you on campus and it won’t matter when it is as long as they have a coach there to show you around.

If your goal is to see them play and you are interested in learning more about the atmosphere surrounding game day, then the best time to visit is during the fall.  Because the coaches are so busy focusing on the actual game, don’t expect much time with them.  They may introduce themselves or say hello but the conversation will likely not have that much depth to it.  You need to know that coming into the fall visits.

The one advantage that you do have making these game day visits is per NCAA rules, the school can give you three free tickets for the unofficial visit.  You can bring your parents or friends.  It doesn’t matter.  But the school will have three tickets waiting for you if you let them know you are coming ahead of time.

Let me now that a lot of college really send out mass invitations to juniors and sometimes seniors for their games.  Because it is not costing the coaches a cent for giving out the tickets, they will invite hundreds of kids per year.  The coaches give the athletes the option to different games and tell them to contact them beforehand.  So if you are actually not a Division I player but are getting these tickets, live it up.  They do not come cheap to the general public!

The coaches can also help you setup meetings to learn more about academics and different programs at the school.  These can be during anytime of the year and are sometimes included in unofficial visits during the fall or Junior Days in the spring.

When planning out these visits, think most about what you are looking for in the trip.  That should help you figure out when you should visit.  If you have the ability, you might as well enjoy yourself and take as many visits as possible.

And for those curious, an official visit is where the school pays for your travel and accommodations.  Click here for more on official visits and what goes on during your time there.

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