I didn’t go on too many college tours when i was looking at schools (possibly to my detriment), but of the ones i saw i was almost wholly unimpressed. Sure, the concept is good: pair a couple dozen visitors with one friendly student and let the campus speak for itself. In my experience, it never really works out that way; the worst case scenario typically involves the campus saying very little and the tour guide following suit, but being bored definitely isn’t the worst possible result of a tour.
The best tour i saw was at my first choice school, Boston University. Our tourguide was a petite sophomore wearing two inch thick chunky heels who walked backwards and just-short-of screamed at us for a two mile circuit of the campus. As tour guides go i consider her my role-model, and i try my best to do her proud. In fact, i did so twice today.
In case you haven’t picked it up from context, i’m not exactly ecstatic about my college; after four years the same old mistakes and scheduling problems are tiring, especially pared with the fact that i should’ve shopped around more extensively for colleges to start with. However, just because i’m wearying of my collegiate experience doesn’t mean that i should pass on anything other than enthusiasm to incoming students — not only for the sake of being a good salesperson, but because i owe it to them to give them the best possible idea of why they might want to come here.
Some days that best example includes climbing onto desks, singing acappella in the middle of our bookstore’s lobby, telling my group that i’ll be making up a name for the athletic field until i can remember what it’s actually called, and making used-car-salesman like guarantees about our housing policies. It’s unorthodox, to say the least, but people never fail to smile, laugh, ask questions, and shake my hand when i give a tour in my own special fashion. And, while i would never suggest hiring an entire staff of maniacs like myself, there is definitely something to be said for being able to frankly discuss a campus in a way that’s both endearing and amusing … as well as entirely unscripted.