I have been fortunate enough to have the experience of being a tour guide for my college. With this experience has come everything from amazing times sharing my excitement for my school to some really awkward questions. Here are some things I wish all prospies/families knew before going on one of my tours.
1. If we have your major
Often tour guides like to get an idea of what majors prospective students are interested in so that we can try and personalize the tour. It is always super awkward when we ask what you are interested and you say something we don’t have. If you are visiting a school that doesn’t have the exact major you are interested in, consider giving a more general answer. So if you were interested in underwater basket weaving you may want to say something like “visual arts” or “studio arts.”
2. Pre-med isn’t a major
This goes back to #1 with knowing what the school offers. Often prospies talk about how they want to major in pre-med. Pre-med isn’t actually a major anywhere (that I know of), rather it is a track of courses that you can take. It is okay if you don’t know that, but you end up wasting tour time when we need to explain that your intended major isn’t a major.
3. It is totally okay to ask about the little things
So often I see students who seem hesitant to ask questions about things that may seem insignificant. Honestly, we are 100 percent okay with asking those random questions that pop into your head. So feel free to ask us about everything from our favorite Greek restaurant near campus to how often we actually take advantage of tutoring resources.
4. Please don’t ask us our high school GPA/SAT score/ACT score/where else we got in/where we got rejected and so on
Not only is it super awkward for us but often we aren’t supposed to talk about where else we looked at/applies. You are on a tour ideally because you want to learn about our school, so for this one hour just focus on our school. As for our stats, again it is extremely awkward. But besides that, we are just one person and everybody’s situation is different. Often we will be happy to tell you averages for the school if you are trying to get a more general sense of statistics.
5. Ask questions
Tours tend to be more fun for everybody involved when families ask questions. Not only does it help me as the tour guide to get a better idea of what you are interested in but it also makes the tour more interesting (especially during times where we are walking between buildings which can admittedly get a bit boring).
6. We were just as confused and overwhelmed by the college process as you are
I remember when I used to go on college tours I always assumed that my tour guide somehow had an easier/less stressful time dealing with the whole college process. I think it is because often when we as college students look back on the process we realize that everything worked out. That being said, I promise you, we were just as stressed and confused as you. So with that in mind, I bring you to #7.
7. We are just human
Honestly, we are just a few years older than you. Tours tend to be more fun when they are more like a conversation, so try and remember that we too are humans.
I suppose the best way to summarize what I as a tour guide wish you knew going into the tour is that questions about who we were as a college applicant can be awkward, the same is true of questions and statements that aren’t applicable to our school, but at the end of the day we love being tour guides and just want to help you to discover a school we love.