A student-athlete can go on an unofficial visit at any time, but they are limited to five official visits to NCAA Division 1 and 2 schools. On an unofficial visit, athletes pay for all costs. Coaches or athletic departments pay some or all of the costs of an official visit. The only thing that can be paid for on an unofficial visit is three tickets to an athletic event.
If a school pays for anything else, such as food, lodging, or travel expenses, then the visit will count as an official visit.
Unlike unofficial visits, which an athlete can go on at any time, an official visit must be taken during the athlete’s senior year. Also, a coach will have to offer to bring you on an official visit; there is no other way to sign up to take them. It’s a good idea to start taking unofficial visits to local schools, so an athlete can get a feel for visiting colleges. By doing this, they will be prepared for official visits, or more costly unofficial visits to schools that are not close to home. It’s important to be prepared for a visit so you’re not wasting your time or the coach’s time.
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