Where should we visit?
or a better question:
What's the best way to spend more money on recruiting?
September 11, 2019
By Lisa Palmisano
MONEY...When the NCAA passed legislation allowing for Official Visits beginning September 1st of a PSA's Junior year, we were elated. Official visits had become the weekend when all the Senior high school commits would have a paid visit to go together and visit their future college and bond. This was due to the old rule that official visits could not be taken until your Senior year of high school and because kids were committing to schools way before their Senior year. I am very thankful for the rule changes.
During last fall, my daughters thankfully were invited on and used 4 of their 5 official visits. So, now as commits, they had used their official visit to actually visit the school. They would not have a paid visit during their Senior year. Once a kid locks in to a school that is a great fit. They are ALL IN! For my girls, their entire incoming class of commits are all paying their own way to go to be together and take an unofficial visit to their future college! These girls love each other and love being together--so paying their way to go back to the school they love and be together is TOTALLY worth it.
Official or Unofficial, many recruits are not just deciding on visits--a large majority are faced with the decision of which prospect camp to attend. Personally, we found prospect camps to be a waste of money. We spend thousands of dollars-paying for plane tickets, hotels, car rentals and the camps themselves TIMES two kids to attend prospect days.
One school, my girls went to TWO single-day prospect days within a year. It was at least $1500 for each visit. They even had received a hand written postcard from the assistant coach asking them to go to the prospect day on the weekend before September 1st--we felt like they had to attend. Long story short, they didn't receive a text, email, call...nada...from that school. Why do I share this? I have had multiple people call me asking which prospect days their kids should go to? My answer is--do not go unless your child has had a conversation with the coach and knows that they are "in the running" to get an offer from that school. Then, attending the prospect day is worth it, especially if during the prospect camp-possibly after it is over, there will be an individual meeting with the coach(es). Personally, watching the 21 class going through this process, I know of a few recruits who were personally invited to prospect days but were unable to go. So they called the coach to see if there was another time they could visit the school. Every coach told them to come visit and it was fine if they did not attend the prospect day. Don't get me wrong, a prospect day could be a helpful way for an "in" if your kids crushes it, but you need to know that they are on the short list for the college and it is worth the time, money and effort to attend.
There are several fall tournaments coming up. The coaches can watch/evaluate kids at those--if they still need to evaluate them. If you are going to go to a camp, IMHO--Money is better spent attending a multi-day winter camp. It may cost a little more, but I think a multi-day camp is a better investment than a 4-5 hour prospect camp. You get more opportunities to get to know the coaches, the commits and some players--if a coach likes a kid at a Winter camp, they do make offers after camp. Could that happen after a prospect day-sure-but with 60+ girls in a short few hour time frame-it's harder to stand out. If you are not on the short list, it won't take long to see that you have been placed in a group that the coaches are not paying attention to and you will be left feeling like it was a money grab. It pays to talk to the coach before shelling out money to go to the prospect day. I also would choose not to go to a prospect day at a school that you've already attending one or more prospect days and camps. If you didn't get interest from that school already-it's probably not going to happen.
Officials/Unofficials-for our family-if an official was offered-we gratefully accepted. Official visits tend to have multiple recruits and are well planned out. If a coach is going to spend money to bring in a recruit, then it is a school that you most likely will receive an offer from. Official visits are fun and a great opportunity to enjoy the recruiting process.
Unofficials can still be a great visit. I would ask if there is a weekend that other recruits will be in so you can see what kind of kids/families the coach is recruiting. Also, make sure that you can attend a class and a practice. Visits are a time when you are getting to know the coach, school, players and recruits. Visits should be a time that you are focused on the school--not having to go "perform" at a prospect day and not getting time to soak in the school and focus on if it is the right fit for you.
This is just my personal opinion. If you have the money to spend and want to go to multiple prospect days-go for it. I just feel that attending multiple camps is not just a drain on the wallet, but on the kids. It is good to think through what you spend your money and time on.
AND-if you need professional advice sorting through where to go/where to spend money--I HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY, recommend that you go to :
Sign up for a phone consult with Crysti Foote. She has the inside knowledge and expertise to help guide your child to the right schools to visit. I think if you are confused on where to go/what to do-the best place to spend a little money is to have someone who knows direct you and help you make the best choices.
This is a big choice for your child. I can sum it up best by this interaction:
While waiting on our individual meetings with the coaches to conclude our visit at a school several years ago, a dad told me how nervous he was for the meeting. I joked "Well, this decision will only affect the rest of your kids life." He laughed. He also told me months later when I saw him at a tournament how that conversation had stuck with him. He kept thinking that the school his daughter chose would impact the rest of her adult life! Visiting schools is important, but this is a decision not just based on lacrosse-so choose wisely!