What’s the true role of a student tour guide on campus?

Guides now find places for families to take selfies, offer individual tours and lead scavenger hunts
By: | September 9, 2019
Campus tour guides, looking for new ways to make their colleges stand out, now go off script, sharing personal experiences and finding spots where families can take selfies.Campus tour guides, looking for new ways to make their colleges stand out, now go off script, sharing personal experiences and finding spots where families can take selfies.

Can college tour guides give prospective students an accurate picture of life on campus while also marketing the school effectively?

The Atlantic asks if they can serve both roles as acceptance rates drop and tours evolve beyond the traditional student guides walking backward as they show families around campus.

“Obviously, things that I don’t like about Georgetown are my own experiences and interactions, and everyone’s are going to be different,” Jaydon Skinner, a tour guide at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., who still walks backward, told The Atlantic writer Adam Harris. “I want to try to be as honest and straightforward as I can while still being a positive representative of the university.”


Read more from UB: Campus tours that turn heads


University Business recently offered administrators 11 tips for creating a memorable campus tour at a time when students can increasingly explore colleges online, from the comfort of home. Schools that are innovating are using golf carts and other modes of transportation so families can cover larger distances.

Guides are also finding places for families to take selfies, offering individual tours, going off script to share personal experiences and leading scavenger hunts.

At some higher ed institutions, soon-to-graduate high school students are not the only ones invited to tour campus. Rice University in Texas, for example, welcomes elementary and middle school student groups.

“We emphasize the importance of college, any college, whether it is a junior college, a two-year specialized college or a four-year university,” Seraphina Van, manager of Rice’s Welcome Center, told UB last year.