College Visits: Q&A With A Campus Tour Guide

As a parent, you have a lot to inquire about when you go on a campus tour of a college with your son or daughter.

In addition to financial and academic concerns, I’m sure the first question that will pop into your head is “how qualified is this tour guide…?”

Parents hope that the student who was chosen to inform them about the campus is an educated representative of that university. Well, I’m here to let you know that the students who are giving the campus tours are extremely qualified for their job.

The process of becoming a tour guide is not easy or quick. These students go through extensive training before they’re able to lead a tour all by themselves. I remember when I went on tours with my parents they were always waiting to be impressed not only by the school, but by the campus tour guide.

In order to give you an inside perspective to the type of student who is chosen to give these campus tours, I interviewed my friend and fellow brother of my service fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega) who is a current tour guide for the University of Dayton: Jack Raisch.

Jack is one of the most impressive students I’ve met here at the University of Dayton. He’s been a tour guide for a year now, is a photographer for the student theater program, residential assistant for a freshman dorm,  member of the exec board for M-Fest (mental awareness event), and senior spotlights chair for our service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.

With a full workload, Jack still manages to shine in each leadership role that I listed above. He’s a charming, outgoing, and friendly individual who embodies all the personalities that are required of a great tour guide.

Q: Why did you apply for the position?

A: “I felt that UD had a lot to offer. I wanted to effectively communicate how people could do well here and fit in at our university.Also, I was a tour guide in high school and what I loved from that experience is that I could translate people’s interests and help take them to the next step. To help them create a peace of mind.”

Q: Once you were hired, what kind of training did you have to go through before you were allowed to give your first tour?

A: “First you start off by joining Aviators.

(Aviators consists of enthusiastic students who want to share their experiences about the University of Dayton with prospective students. This organization is constantly looking for passionate individuals who want to represent UD).

Next, you go through an introductory training session that is followed by permission to shadow other tour guides. Once you shadow enough tours and the university feels that you are capable of taking over, you give a tour; with another tour guide watching of course. Then, once you have proven that you can direct a tour on your own—eventually you have a final evaluation.”

Q: Do you have a list of required topics to cover during your walk around campus?

A: “Yes, we cover general education courses, resident life, basic college events, especially larger events like Christmas On Campus here at UD, organizations, and majors.Once we figure out what the major is of the perspective student, we offer them advice on campus resources and organizations that can help them with that degree. In addition, I feel that we give them so much more information that illuminates the personality of campus. That’s something you can’t find online.”

Q: What are the most important aspects of campus that you highlight on a tour with a group of perspective students and their parents?

A: “The resources we offer beyond academics, the counseling center, student success offices, and further ways that students can achieve help outside the classroom.”

Q: How do you handle difficult questions regarding controversy or bad publicity about the university?

A:  “We definitely want to be honest and genuine. We try to explain to parents what the situation was and that it by no means represents the university as a whole—simply a select group of students who chose to make some bad decisions.”

Q: What are the most common questions that parents ask you?

A: “The most popular topics are in regards to meal plans, housing, financial aspects of the school—which I’m not allowed to answer—and if our school has any campus activity boards to plan events.”

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Stephanie Vlk

Stephanie Vlk

Stephanie Vlk is a junior at the University of Dayton pursuing a degree in communication with a concentration in electronic media as well as a minor in English. While not in class, Stephanie is involved in a service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and a honors professional fraternity, Phi Beta Chi. Outside of academic and community activities, she enjoys dancing hip hop, reading, spending time with friends, and doing yoga.