One of the things I miss most about last year is giving in-person tours. They were a great excuse to get outside, take a walk around campus, and chat with prospective students and families about all the reasons I love Tufts. For almost two hours, I could forget all of my academic stress and just indulge in the adrenaline rush that comes with presenting to a group of thirty people or so. This year, I still get to give tours, but they look very different. In this blog, I’ll explain how we’re continuing to give tours through this unprecedented semester and how you can attend one!
So, as you can probably expect, all of our tours this semester are virtual. Each tour guide has been paired up with another, and each pair will give an average of two tours a month. What’s great about this system is that any tour that you take of Tufts this semester will have not one, but TWO tour guides presenting all the information you could ever need to know. This is definitely a huge bonus because two guides means double the student experience and double the knowledge about the university. Additionally, each guide has been paired up with another who has a different academic and extracurricular interest, meaning you’ll get perspectives on multiple departments and student organizations at Tufts.
But how does it actually work? Well, we use Zoom Webinar for every tour. If you don’t have experience with Zoom Webinar, this is a Zoom meeting but you, the attendee, are not a part of the meeting. Your video doesn’t pop up and you can’t speak in the meeting. The only people who are visible and audible are the “panelists,” a.k.a the tour guides. One tour guide will share their screen and present Tufts’ YouVisit experience. This is essentially a Google-street-view type tour of Tufts complete with 360 degree photos and information about each stop. We use this as the visual component to the tours. We will “walk” around campus and stop at the most important places to give you all the same information you would get on a normal tour, just from the safety of our homes.
While the first guide will manage the YouVisit, the other guide will manage the Q&A. The Zoom Webinars have a special Q&A in addition to the chat through which tour attendees can pose questions to the guides. If your question is quick and easy, we will answer it during the tour, but we will save the bulk of the questions for a 20 minute Q&A session at the end of the tour. This is a great addition to the tours because students have so much time to ask whatever they’re curious about regarding Tufts. Additionally, I like to paste a series of website links (one of which leads to JumboTalk!) in the chat at the very end of the tour so attendees can get to know Tufts more.
In all, tours this semester do look incredibly different from previous years, in good ways and bad. The most negative aspect of them is obviously the fact that us guides can’t meet the attendees in person and form a bond with them, and the attendees in turn can’t meet Tufts in person. But with this virtual format, we’ve made the tour process a lot more accessible—you can take a tour of Tufts from anywhere in the world! Gone is the requirement of driving or flying to Boston to tour colleges; now you can do it from your bedroom. We’ve also changed the timing of our tours so that they’re accessible to international students in different time zones. Although we will resume in person tours as soon as possible, we will definitely be keeping the virtual tour format, as it’s proved to be a great tool in advertising Tufts to students who can’t physically come to campus.
If you’d like to register for a tour of Tufts, you can do so here: https://ugrad.admissions.tufts.edu/portal/virtual-visit. While you’re at it, take a look at our list of tour guides as well: https://admissions.tufts.edu/visit/plan-your-visit/meet-our-tour-guides/. All of our emails are listed so you can reach out to any of us personally with questions if our interests align with yours. I’d also encourage you to look around the Admissions website and take advantage of all the resources they have to offer. The Admissions office has really boosted their virtual offerings in the wake of the pandemic, and their Instagram has also been highly active recently, hosting multiple IG Lives a week with current students: https://www.instagram.com/tuftsadmissions/?hl=en. Although these aren’t the ideal circumstances under which you’d conduct a college search, I’m positive that you can still fall in love with Tufts even if you can’t visit in person!