Tour guides make the first impression

By Dominique Maugeri
November 11, 2005

Remember back when you were an incoming freshman visiting college. Every classmate would sign up to tour every college to just get out of school. Those tours were for many the deciding factor to what college they were going to attend in the fall. The tour is the very first time that you are able to see the college, people, and are able to picture yourself attending a particular college.

A college tour consists of a current student who will give a tour to a prospective student around the buildings and to meet other current students. The prospective student is able to see where he or she will live, if they decide to reside on campus, and where their eating area and classrooms will be. It’s their first opportunity to really understand what the college stands for and if they will be able to fit into to the school or not. Some students think that a college is right for them based on a tour or friends, but come to find out later that it was the wrong choice.

A tour guide is the most important part of the tour. If the tour guide is very knowledgeable about their school and is honest with the student and parent, then their tour should be a success. Parents always feel better when they hear honest answers which make them feel safer if their child decides to attend that school. A student also feels better knowing from a current student the “real deal” about the social aspect of the college. A good tour guide shares stories of their own experiences of living on campus and the social and academic aspects of the college. A bad tour guide, which I’m sure many of students have had, tells you everything wrong about the campus from their personal experience, isn’t knowledgeable about the college, and gives outrageous estimates on class sizes and other matters. Parents are more concerned about sending their child to the school and the prospective student is more likely not going to attend the college.

As a student ambassador at Cabrini College I have witnessed quite a few tours, some that were both wonderful and some not so wonderful. My very first tour went extremely well because there was no awkward silence, the kind you get when you feel like everyone is just staring at you and thinking you’re a big idiot. Everyone was talkative and seemed really interested in learning about the college and what it was about. The students were talking to me, which made me feel like they could relate to me a little better. The second tour, which I felt would be a success because I had gained so much confidence from the first, turned into a disaster. The tour began on time and everyone was ready to head out on the tour trail. I tried to get to know the students but they were not as talkative as I thought they would have been.

As I was showing them the buildings, I was suggesting local jobs that they could apply to, if interested in working during the school year. I work at the mall, so I obviously mentioned the mall as an option. The one girl nodded her head and the father said, “No way., You would spend your whole paycheck” and started cracking up. The daughter replied “Oh Daddy.” I did not find any of it to be funny and actually felt like excusing myself from the tour and throwing up behind the mansion.

I instead decided to continue my tour and put on a nice big smile. The next stop was the mansion. I got very excited trying to scare the tour by telling them the famous ghost story of Cabrini, but everyone just looked at me with boredom on their faces. I then anxiously finished the tour, but of course not rushing through it, and said my goodbyes to the family knowing that they were not coming to Cabrini.

As a tour guide I learned that you can tell who will attend in the fall and who is just there for a day off from school.

Posted to the web by Tim Hague

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Dominique Maugeri

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