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The Scarlet & Black

How campus visits differ for prospective athletes

How+campus+visits+differ+for+prospective+athletes

By Carter Howe
howethom@grinnell.edu

For prospective student-athletes, picking a college that is the right fit both athletically and academically can be daunting. Grinnell sports teams and coaches try to provide prospective student visitors an experience that builds community.

While many students visit campus, for prospective student-athletes, visiting campus can be especially helpful as it allows them to meet their potential coach and teammates and see the facilities where they will be potentially be training next year. Although per NCAA regulations prospective athletes are not allowed to attend a team practice supervised by a coach, as this would constitute a try-out, prospective student-athletes often get to hang out with team members and experience what it’s like to be part of the team.

For Lauren Edwards ’20, defender on the women’s soccer team, visiting campus was a valuable experience because it allowed her to see if she would get along with the other team members. “I ate lunch with the team and immediately thought that they were just a great group of people. A lot of the times people that I’ve played with haven’t been focused as much on academics as I have, so here are a group of people who are as focused as academics but also love soccer like I did, and I felt like these were a great group of new people that I knew that I would feel like part of them,” Edwards said.

Ali Hickey ’21, a member of the women’s tennis team, also said that having fun with the team when she visited was a key reason that she decided to come to Grinnell. “I think that was, like, a big selling point for me was just how I got along really well with the team and how they were really welcoming to me, and, also, the coach—getting along with her, and seeing the program she’s running, how successful it is,” Hickey said.

Coaches like to take advantage of Discover Grinnell weekend because it gives prospective students a comprehensive look at the College and allows them to show multiple prospective students around their teams. “The Discover Grinnell program offers so much in a short amount of time, and many coaches take advantage of that,” head women’s swimming and diving coach Erin Hurley said.

Hurley said that coaches like to arrange for prospective student-athletes to stay with members of the team so they can get a more authentic experience of the College with a member of the team. “We take an active role in finding them a host, so it would be somebody on the team. Since the Discover Grinnell programs are really heavy on Monday, with a lot of options, we try to provide opportunities to them on Sunday to one, get to know the team, but [also] be engaged on campus within a more relaxed environment,” Hurley said.

Hurley said that on Discover Grinnell weekends, the swim team goes to Dari Barn and plays Cards Against Humanity with the prospective students to build community. “We do a trip to the Dari Barn. I think they play either celebrity of crimes against humanity -— I’m not sure if I’m saying it correctly,” Hurley laughed.

Ultimately, Hurley said that campus visits provide an experience to visit campus personally that cannot be replicated. “I meet these students…and that experience they have—you can do a virtual tour, you can see that information, but until you have one on one relationships with people … that’s really important to, I think, the continuation of getting students that are a good match for Grinnell.”

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