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The TOUR: Tips for Success

baseballmombaseballmom 1566 replies44 threads Senior Member
edited August 2007 in Prep School Admissions
Ok, so I don't have tips to share (at least I can't think of any at the moment). But I am looking to troubleshoot the "tour gone wrong".

Your child is a dancer (or a "fill in the blank") and not an athlete. The student tour guide shows you the basketball court and the hockey rink, etc. You ask about the dance studio and they say it's not on the tour, I don't know where it is, or it's over in the XXX building. It is obvious you're not going to be shown the facilities you want to see. You've driven 3 hours or possibly spent an overnight to visit this school. The admissions office is literally spilling over with candidates waiting to be interviewed. Things are BUSY and the student is finished with the tour. You can't really ask for a do-over.

This is just one instance, but we've experienced different versions of the same bad tour at various schools over the years. I wonder if we can come up with a list of tips for a successful tour or how to get a bad tour back on track before all is lost?
edited August 2007
12 replies
Post edited by baseballmom on
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Replies to: The TOUR: Tips for Success

  • IgglesfanIgglesfan 139 replies7 threads Junior Member
    The academic building we wanted to see was never on the general tour. We did one of two things. If possible, we called the department ahead and asked if we could stop by while we were visiting the campus - this usually resulted in a tour of the facility, an informal meeting with someone in administration or an invitation to stop in the studio and talk to students. Or, when we had to visit one campus on a weekend, we just walked through the building. It was open and there were students around who were friendly and happy to show off their work.
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  • olivia567olivia567 1933 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Here's a tip for a tour in general, just not your problem or specific question about the buildings you see vs. buildings you want to see ---

    Remember, the tour is NOT an interview. This person will not go back to the admissions officer and tell them that you used bad grammar or anything. So you can, like Lovemeister probably did ;), ask questions about dating or the social scene - not very admissions-y questions like "Name the three things that are best about your school." So ask the questions that you really want answered or can't be answered here, on a website, or from someone who's trying to sell the school to different applicants or who will judge you on your performance.
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  • tommeistertommeister 1281 replies14 threads Senior Member
    ^^Actually, I'm pretty sure that the tour guides DO report back to the admissions office, so something like bad grammar could give the impression to them that you're not right for the school, which they could then communicate to the office.

    Still, you should ask questions that you wouldn't to your interviewer.
    They're the students, after all, and would have the best idea of what life is like at the school.
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  • olivia567olivia567 1933 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Come on, Tom.

    Please tell me you won't be a tour guide.

    "Oh, Mr. Smith, Sally Sue said 'are' instead of 'is'. What were her Verbal SSAT scores?"

    "Why, thank you, Tom." *dazzling smile* "I'll be sure to check into that."


    Just kidding. ;)

    I mean like... to reiterate what he said, basically a tour guide can come back and say "That kid was so sweet. I think he'd be a great addition to the school. He has a charismatic personality." Or, "He said that his parents are forcing him to go here."

    So that can have an effect. Basically, be your own person with your own great personality, but you can still ask controversial questions like "The Dark Side of Boarding School" or you can relax while you're with them.

    [edit] By the way, this is basically what tommeister said.
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  • baseballmombaseballmom 1566 replies44 threads Senior Member
    We had a tour guide with extremely poor grammar that used double-negatives continuously and told us that "SSAT scores don't really matter" because her scores were really low and she got in. She also said the teachers were really nice and tutored her every day after school.

    My straight A daughter was rejected from that school. I wrote the admissions office a letter months later and advised them to be more thoughtful when matching tour guides with prospective students! This was one of The Ten Schools.
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  • olivia567olivia567 1933 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Well, still.

    I'm just saying, it's more relaxed than your actual interview!

    If she used double negatives to say something negative (needs just one), then wouldn't one negative mean that she thought they did matter? (SSAT scores)

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  • cecils15cecils15 120 replies14 threads Junior Member
    when i give tours i always ask the prospective student what specific things they want to see so that i can make time to show them. i think one of the most important thing a prospective student should do on a tour is to talk and interact, it's hard giving a tour to someone who is completely silent and has no questions for you even after you try your hardest to engage them. parents are usually good about asking questions but the child should also be involved.
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  • olivia567olivia567 1933 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Cecils, where do you attend school?

    I want to be on Gold Key but freshmen cant' join till after fall term so I'd have to apply after November 27 I believe it is.
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  • creative1creative1 1613 replies44 threads Senior Member
    Olivia - our best tour came from a new freshman - it was a young woman like yourself who was very enthusiatic and knowledgeable about her school
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  • IgglesfanIgglesfan 139 replies7 threads Junior Member
    My mistake, sorry guys. Didn't realize that this was a prep school thread. Previous post (#2) applies to college visits.
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  • creative1creative1 1613 replies44 threads Senior Member
    Igglesfan - your advice still applies to prep schools. If you have a specific area of interest, call ahead to arrange a visit with that coach/dept. head, etc. and get a tour of the facilities specific to your interest. It has the added benefit of showing your interest in the school and your ability to proactively seek out information.
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  • olivia567olivia567 1933 replies51 threads Senior Member
    I know, I'd love to tour in fall term, but I'll be able to winter (though there will be less visits, obviously). :)
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