The NCAA regulates many aspects of the recruiting process and allows for 5 official visits by a prospective recruit. See NCAA rules for more specifics. Official visits (OV) are a wonderful way to learn about a school and rowing program and get an “insider” view of a campus. They allow for class time as well as social time with the team and attending a practice. Many times, prospects also get individual time with a coach.
Official visits are a visit to campus which most commonly includes a weekday (so that you can attend classes) as well as an overnight. There is also some travel involved depending on the distance of the college from your home. Official visits are very exciting and also can be intense. We see OV’s as an extended “job interview” with the coach looking at the prospect at the same time as the prospect is evaluating the college and rowing team. Remember that OV’s occur during the fall of senior year in high school. This is a very busy time for high school athletes since they need to: keep up with the academic work, continue to train, work on college applications and possibly re-take the ACT or SAT and stay healthy.
We have worked with many prospects and strongly advise that they take a maximum of 3 OV’s. The addition of travel and time away from home to the intensity and stress of senior fall can take its toll. If you have done your homework, you should be able to have a list of 3-5 top schools during the summer before senior year with your aim being 3 OV’s. How prospects choose where to take OV’s is different for each student athlete-but includes an evaluation of their academic and rowing profile as well as the appeal of the individual school and rowing team.