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I’ve been out with my high school daughter on a lot of campus tours of late and admit being somewhat shocked as to the weak presentation skills we see from a lot of student tour guides. Admittedly, I’m observing these young volunteers from an adult’s perspective and am more judgmental and discriminating than the crowd of high school kids in attendance might be. (For parents, it’s painful enough just to be subjected to some numskull tour guide that says “like” every other word). Nonetheless, parents remain an important audience in the college tour process, as a positive first impression is critical, (sharp tour guide = sharp student body).
This said, if I were heading up a school’s admission’s department, I would absolutely insist that my student guides be the absolute brightest, most personable, articulate bunch of kids I can possibly round up around campus to showcase my institution in the most favorable light possible. If this means insisting on far more strict screening & training standards for interested applicants, (paid versus volunteer), so be it. Let me stress that I’m not interested in seeing a bunch of “Barbie & Ken” tour guides that come across as too slick & polished, as being likable and relatable is still paramount to the high school kids in attendance. What I don’t want, however, is an “average” kid that’s simply memorized a bunch of facts, (versus offering interesting, personal insights on campus life), or someone that has sub-par communication skills and poor grooming standards. Student guides should be spontaneous, show some personality and push to the max to get people in the tour group involved in the process.
I’m interested in feedback from parents or high school students on this topic, as to what you’ve experienced to date and what makes a good first impression for you. If any college admission types frequent this forum, your feedback would also be welcome. Thanks.