5 MUSTS When Visiting Hockey Prep Schools, Colleges, And University


Throughout the hockey season, colleges, prep schools, and universities will offer visits to prospective players they may be interested in recruiting. This can be an exciting time and one you’ll want to make sure you are prepared for.

The following post will share 5 musts you want to consider when visiting a prep school, college, or university. Schools are allows looking to fill their ranks with the best students and athletes they can find. They know that if they can get you to come out and see their facility, and all of the things they offer above and beyond hockey, that you’re sure to fall in love with their program, and then they’ll have a better chance of signing you.

It’s a big deal for them but it’s a much bigger deal for you.

As a player looking at a school, you’ll either be invited or you can schedule a time to check out the school without an official visit. Obviously, it’s better to get a tour by someone in the hockey department, maybe a coach or current player or trainer. Anyone who is involved in the hockey program you’re looking at so you can get a really good look at not only the school but the program itself.

Sometimes there are forms and documents you will need to fill out so whenever you are planning on visiting a school, make sure you talk to someone to make sure you are all set when it comes to any paperwork they might require. I highly recommend you get in touch with the admissions office before any visit.

Now I know I mentioned uninvited visits are an option when visiting hockey programs and campuses but I have to warn you. It's a better idea to get invited if at all possible. The best visits are visits where everyone is prepared. Nobody likes having something unexpected dropped on them out of nowhere and when it happens, it can create a bad taste and you definitely don’t want the bad taste to be associated with you. Imagine out of the blue, a coach is told there’s a recruit here that needs a tour. You think that coach is going to be thrilled at this interruption in his day? Probably not, and like I said, you don’t want that bad taste associated with you.

I highly highly highly recommend that if you want to visit a school or a program, find a way to get an invitation or at least schedule it in advance so that people know you’re coming and you can make a solid first impression

So what are some of the key things you should do when visiting a school?

The following are 5 things you should make sure you do when you visit your next prep school or college

1 – Plan ahead

We just talked about the importance of making a good first impression and planning ahead, or better yet, confirming an invitation prior to your visit goes a long way to making the visit productive. See if you can get a tour of both the campus and the hockey facilities. As I mentioned before if the tour can be with someone who knows a lot about the hockey program, all the better. You want to make the most of your time there so it’s best to plan in advance.

2 – Have a list of the questions you want to ask during the visit

You’ll find that touring campus and talking to all the people you’ll meet in a day can feel overwhelming. It’s a good idea to make a list of questions you want to ask and have them with you to remind you of the things you want to cover while you’re there. There’s nothing more frustrating than finishing up a tour and remembering 5 things you meant to ask

3 – Get a good look at both the campus and anything hockey related

Most of your time at the school will be school-related so be sure to get a good look at all the facilities, not just the hockey facilities. Make sure you see the library and common areas. Get a look at the cafeteria and study areas. Take a look at some of the classrooms and anywhere you will find yourself spending a lot of time if you decide to attend the school. Of course the same goes for the hockey facilities but my guess is, you will make sure you look at everything around the hockey program since that is the most exciting part of heading off to school in the first place.

Another thing you’ll want to get a good look at is where you’ll live. If you’re heading to a prep school that is a boarding prep school, you’ll want to see what the rooms are like, the bathroom facilities, things like that. Unfortunately, I’ve seen situations where the school was awesome, the hockey was awesome, but the living arrangements were terrible. So bad that they left the school. Make sure you take in everything that will be part of your experience in the new school.

4 – Make sure you know what the academic qualifications are for the school you are visiting

There is nothing more disappointing than touring an amazing school only to find out your academic qualifications fall short of what is needed to attend. Most likely you will know what it will take to qualify for the school, both from an academic standpoint and a hockey standpoint. But when you’re visiting a bunch of schools, back to back to back, it’s easy to lose track of who requires what, so make sure you know going in, what it will take to go to this school. This brings me to my final point.

5 – Make sure to take notes during your visit

As I said, it can feel like a whirlwind touring schools. Make sure you have a notepad or your smartphone so you can take notes of things you either want to follow up on or things that are a big influence on your decision to go to one place over another. Everybody thinks they’ll just remember, but the truth is, you won’t. You’ll remember some things but you won’t remember other things and it could be the other things that tilt on the school in favor of another. So make sure you’re prepared to take notes during your visit so you’ll have everything you need when you get back home to make the best decision on where you want to go.

So there you have it … 5 things you want to make sure you do when you visit colleges and prep schools this season

it can be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking times in your hockey development but it’s something you’ll never forget and the experience of visiting schools and seeing where you might end up at one day can change your entire motivation, commitment, and dedication right now, now that you see what’s possible.

good luck and have a blast … these are times you’ll remember the rest of your life … soak it all in and enjoy it

let me know what you think? … have you toured a great school recently? … or maybe had a not-so-great visit somewhere?

Kevin L. Willis, PhD
Sport Psychologist
Level 5 USA Hockey Coach

Clarity Preparation Confidence