Last Thursday marked my very first tour as an official Tufts Tour Guide. As I was walking up and down the hill, speaking at a million miles per hour, and spouting off stories and facts about my school, I couldn’t help but think back to my (MANY) college tours when I was a high school student and wish that I could have given myself some advice. So, I’ve decided that this could be the next best thing: I present to you…
A Tour Guide’s Guide to Tours
(Get it because I’m a Guide and this is a Guide… Yeah, Okay, you get it.)
1. ASK QUESTIONS. No really, every guide you have will most likely begin his or her tour by informing you that they would prefer the tour be interactive and more of a conversation than a lecture. As students, we get to walk around our beautiful campus whenever we please, so the Tour really is FOR YOU. If you want to know something, speak up, even if you think others may not care, this is your chance to see the school so make the most of it.
2. CHOOSE A GUIDE THAT ALIGNS WITH YOUR INTERESTS. All tour guides are trained to cover every topic at Tufts. As a Liberal Arts, English student I could still tell you all about the math courses here or even the school of Engineering (gasp!), but I won’t have as many personal stories to accompany those topics (though I do have a few). If you want to talk about theatre, varsity athletics, English, communications, and the freshmen experience… I’m your girl! Choose a guide that will have personal stories of experiences that you might have. And don’t be afraid to choose a freshman: though we are less experienced, we are currently living your immediate future and just finished applying ourselves so utilize that knowledge (Seniors absolutely have their merit too, though!).
3. SPEND TIME ON CAMPUS AFTER THE TOUR. Please don’t rush away. Though we will take you ALL over campus, there are still things you don’t get to see on a tour. Stay and walk down to Gantcher (the athletic center), sit in the audience of Balch Arena (our stage), grab a coffee with your tour guide (honestly, if they don’t have class, I’m sure they’d be up for it), sit on the prez lawn and take in the sights. You could even find a random student on the prez lawn and ask to talk to them: tour guides are told to represent Tufts in a certain way so picking out a random student may help you see Tufts in a different light. Oh, and if you’re nervous, don’t be: the students at Tufts are generally amazingly friendly and very willing to talk! You may also want to take pictures, or write down your thoughts during the car ride (plane ride) home, so you remember your visits months from now. Spend time making the campus your own, that’s how it will be memorable when you’re filling out apps and asked “Why Tufts?”
4. DON’T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON THE FACTS AND FIGURES. I will say this over and over on my tour, but I sometimes don’t think people believe me: the amount of students in an intro class or the student to faculty ratio should not be deal breakers! No really, as important as it is to know whether you want small classes or large ones, every class will be different and will change by semester. While you’re on the tour, don’t worry about how many students are in the “Women and Fiction” course you’ve heard so much about, but ask your tour guide whether they (or someone they’ve known) have taken it and learn about classes first hand. Your tour guide will know the numbers, but their experiences should be much more important and helpful to you in the long run!
5. GET YOUR TOUR GUIDE’S EMAIL (Well, if you like them…) AND ACTUALLY EMAIL THEM. Chances are they will offer it at the end (I always do) and having a contact at Tufts from the very beginning can be amazingly helpful. I LOVE emailing with potential students and have found we have incredible conversations about their college search and my experience at Tufts. Really though, if your tour guide offers their email, take it and REALLY EMAIL THEM BACK. You can and we want you to!! Don’t loose contact with Tufts when you leave campus, take a friend with you!
6. COME WITH AN OPEN MIND. You never, ever know how being on campus will strike you in the moment. Do your research before you come (if you can), but then leave it at the door and enjoy your day at Tufts! Interact with your guide, let your imagination run off and pretend you already are a student, and take your parent's advice into account but also look for yourself and form your OWN opinions before hearing theirs. This is your time to fall in love with your college… have fun and don’t waste it!
Well that’s all from me!! If you do come and visit anytime soon, my tour runs on Mondays at 1:30 and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to meet you. Good luck touring colleges and have heaps of fun!