Official visit 101

Official visits can be stressful. Most students are traveling further from home perhaps alone for the first time in their lives to impress coaches and find the right school for them. Here are some critical tips you may not think of to help you during your 48 hours on campus. Remember, it is an interview! 


Outside of drinking and partying on your visit, nothing will end your recruitment to a school like falling asleep on a launch. 

Do your research.

Know where the team finished last year in their conference. Ask a coach how they felt about last years results and about this years chances. Asking what last years results were will suggest you are not serious about the school or rowing for the team long term. Also be prepared to answer “why are you interested in ______ University?”  you need to know about the school as well. 

Your host is as important as the coaches 

Coaches always speak to a host athlete after an official visit about their recruit to get a thumbs up or learn of any potential red flags. All behavior is discussed, for example I once had a recruit who made the athlete late for practice and spent time talking about the other schools she would rather go to. I ended communication with her after that weekend. You don’t have to be best friends, but know a bad review from from your host can end your recruitment.

Your host is not there to singularly entertain you. Some hosts may want to show off the school and bring you around the college town or the area but they are not obliged to. Some have work or group projects or tests so be prepared to potentially sit around. It is a part of being a college student.

Plan ahead.

Bring proper clothing to sit on a launch. Check the weather, bring extra layers. If it is in the 60s during the day, a morning practice will be below 50 and sitting on a launch is an extra 10 degrees colder.

Watch what you eat with the coaches.

If you are sharing a meal with the coaches be smart. If you are being recruited as a women’s lightweight, coaches can worry about anorexia so if you order a salad and eat three bites of it that is a red flag to coaches. If you are a heavy openweight or lightweight ordering a hamburger and fries also suggests you aren’t taking being an athlete seriously. 

Make things easy on the coaches.

Don’t miss your flight or check bags or be wishy washy with plans. Coaches are planning 30 or more of these for 4-5 weekends,  the easier you make it for them by sending all the details needed shows you are smart and organized. 

Coaches need the following for official visit paperwork:

  • NCAA number
  • Picture of your SAT or ACT score with your name in the image
  • Up to date high school transcript

Coaches will also want the following details to organize your trip and itinerary:

  • Flight/train number and your arrival and departure times
  • Classes you are interested in
  • If you have allergies or health issues, tell the coaches ahead of time so your hosts can adjust. A lot of athletes eat peanut butter before practice so if you are allergic it is good to know.

Prepare goals.

Every single coach will ask you about your short term and long term goals. Have a goal for your senior spring and a goal for your time at that university for both a 2k and boatings. Coaches can tell you if it is realistic to compete at that on the team or what it takes at that level. Do not make your goal 5 seconds faster than your high school PR. You may not be able to imagine yourself just yet at sub 7:10 but coaches want to hear that you want to try to get there. Coaches don’t want to have to convince you to go fast.