1) You’re going to be spending A LOT of time here.
Your future college’s campus is your new home, literally. You will be sleeping there, eating there, studying there, and practicing there. Liking the campus is a MUST when deciding on a school. When I first toured Naz, I immediately fell in love which could not have happened from scrolling through pictures on Google images. Seeing the campus first-hand is a completely different experience than seeing pictures.
2) Come meet your teammates.
Just like getting used to your new home, you’re going to have to get used to a new family too. Entering college on a sports team has a lot of perks, including having an immediate friend group. It’s very important to know what type of people you’ll be playing with, because you’re going to be spending all your time with them. I had a few hockey players show me around when I toured, and I’ve never met two people who have made a better first impression. I immediately felt comfortable and close with them, and that was a huge reason I decided on becoming a Golden Flyer.
3) Get to know your coach!
Anyone who has the chance to play a college sport has had at least one bad coach along the way, and the LAST thing you want is to end up with a bad coach for four years of college. When I visited Naz, Coach Roll was my tour guide. Having the head coach show me around campus felt like a pretty big deal. I instantly had a feel for what kind of program Nazareth has because of the way I was treated during my visit. I felt like a priority and still feel that way now as a player on the hockey team. Finding a program that truly cares about its players was a big mark on my checklist, and I was able to cross it off after visiting Naz.
4) See the practice facilities (and yes, the academic buildings too…)
You’ve made it. You’re finally going to be competing as a college-athlete. Imagine showing up to your first practice and seeing that your college’s facilities are old, rundown, and possess a very questionable smell. This was one of my biggest fears while deciding on a school, and that’s why I made sure to visit every campus I was seriously interested in. I was able to breathe out a sigh of relief after coming to Naz and seeing the state-of-the-art athletic facilities. Furthermore in late 2018, Nazareth plans to open a brand new field house to continuously offer students and the community top notch athletic and fitness facilities.
This love of campus was only magnified when I saw how nice the academic buildings are too. I know we all prefer to spend our time on the ice, field, or court, but, in reality, you will be spending as much, if not more, time in the classroom than on the playing field. Therefore, you need to see both sides of campus – athletic and academic.
5) Make sure the food is good!
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You’ve most likely just spent 18 years getting spoiled every night with a home-cooked meal. I hate to say it, but those days are history. A lot of college cafeteria’s are an abomination. Naz has a number of different types of eateries on campus which is key. When you’re an athlete consuming as many calories as possible every day, you definitely want to have some options. Come visit and try some stir fry at the dining hall, or grab a grilled buffalo chicken sandwich from the Cabaret.
6) AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Put your parents’ fears to rest.
If your family is anything like mine, you’re going to be bombarded with questions, concerns, and advice from the time you start thinking about college until the time you graduate four years later. Nothing helps to ease a parent’s mind like seeing how excited and pleased their child is with a prospective school. My excitement after visiting Nazareth was contagious. My parents could tell how much I loved the campus, the coach, and my future teammates; they couldn’t help but be happy and excited for me. Of course, I still get hit with the occasional question like, “You’ve been doing laundry right?” or, “Make sure you’re not staying out too late.” However, my parents know Naz is a perfect fit for me, and to be honest; it’s a perfect fit for them too.