A Tour Guide's Guide to Tour-Taking
July 19, 2013
I’ve given over a hundred tours during my time at Tufts. Which sounds exhausting even to me. But I’ve learned a lot about both tour guiding and tour taking. During this time, I’ve really started to figure out some ways that you can take advantage of your time on a college campus most effectively. So without any further ado, here’s my guide to tour-taking.
- Do your research. And this doesn’t mean that you have to spend two hours the night before your tour looking up statistics, or even that you have to do the research before you get there. Just understand that a lot of the numbers and things like that can be found online. So don’t waste your time asking the tour guide what the average class size is, ask about your tour guide’s favorite class. Don’t ask what the student-faculty ratio is, ask how many professors your tour guide has a personal relationship with. This is your best chance to get to know the campus through the eyes of a student, so ask questions you can’t get the answers to online.
- Figure out what’s important to you. If you’re an introvert, that probably means sitting alone and thinking about it, and if you’re an extrovert, that probably means talking about it with your friends. But whatever you need, think about what makes you happy on a day-to-day basis and what you really care about in college. Then, when you’re visiting, look at those things. If there’s a building or a club you care about, ask about it! Make sure to do what’s important to you.
- Tour guides usually have a certain time they have to finish their tour by, and they may have other jobs to do that will be disrupted if they don’t get back on time. So if you have a question that’s super important to you, but may not apply to many of the people on the tour, you might not get the most thought-out, detailed answer if you ask right in the middle of your guide’s spiel on academics. So save those sorts of questions until pauses in the tour or until the end to make sure the guide can take the time to really give you the answer you care about.
- Take notes, but not until the end. You don’t need to write down every stat the tour guide happens to throw out. Once again, you can find those online. Instead, after the tour and everything is done, sit down and write down your feelings. You can find the hard facts anytime – but your initial impressions might fade over time. So make time to make sure you remember how you felt on the tour.
Happy touring everyone!