Tips for Student Ambassadors: How to Be a Great Campus Tour Guide
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If you are part of the school ambassador group, do you think you are a good tour guide? Have you ever wondered whether or not the family liked Rectory School after taking a tour with you? The campus tour is an important factor in determining the visitor’s school preference. A good tour may change a student’s opinion of the school from “not very interested” to “top choice.” A bad tour may not meet the expectations of the visitors and may lower their opinion of the school. Therefore, the school tour guides must assume responsibility for giving visiting families a positive impression of our school.
I contacted Mrs. Gibbs in our Admissions Office to ask her about Rectory’s Student Ambassador Program, and she gave me some helpful information. Furthermore, having been a tour guide at Rectory, as well as a visitor to several secondary schools that took me on tours of their campuses, I believe there are several key components of a successful guided school tour. I would like to offer these to both current and future student ambassadors as suggestions for how to improve their performance when leading school tours.
Suggestion #1: Ask the student visitor about his/her interests.
When looking at a new school, the student wants to feel a personal connection with that school. It is helpful to know the visiting student’s interests and talents, so the tour guide can introduce any special programs our school offers that are closely associated with the subjects or activities that the student cares about. For example, if he/she is an athlete, you should explain the various sports and athletic facilities the school offers; if he/she likes the arts or the humanities, you should show him/her our grand performing theatre, The Tang, and our creative Art Barn, or you could discuss the ninth-grade Capstone project requirement and the monthly student trips to the UConn bookstore.
Examples of questions you could ask the visiting student:
- “What is your favorite subject?”
- “Do you play any sports?”
- “Do you dance/sing/play any musical instruments?”
- “Do you have a passion for a particular topic?”
Suggestion #2: When explaining a particular school rule, emphasize the reason behind the rule and how it benefits students.
Whenever we are told we can or cannot do something, our first reaction may be, “Why?” That is a typical human reaction because common sense tells us that every rule must have a reason for its existence. Therefore, as student representatives of Rectory, we have to make sure that all visitors understand that each school rule exists for the good of the students, and is not just a random restriction placed on students.
Sample Explanations of School Rules:
- When speaking of our family-style dinner with assigned tables, it is important to note that this is a way to encourage students to socialize with people outside of their own close-knit groups and make friends with everyone on campus.
- When talking about our technology policy, it is important to note that these rules will encourage students to “put down their phones” and to personally connect with those around them. Students will then be more comfortable socializing with others.
Suggestion #3: Introduce your background and try to make connections, but do not “carry on” about yourself!
It is normal to feel nervous when taking a tour and interviewing at a new school. Therefore, the tour guide should be amiable and try to make the student visitor feel like he/she is “at home.” You can accomplish this by simply telling the visitors some of your personal stories and making some connections with the visiting student’s interests, just like you do in a regular chat with a friend. Just be careful not to talk about yourself for too long; the focus of the guided tour should be to show Rectory to the visitors and to highlight how our school can benefit the prospective student.
Examples of topics to talk about:
- Your experience at Rectory – How do you like Rectory? Why did you decide to come here, and why do you feel that you made the right choice?
- Your academic life and/or sports life – You can talk about your favorite subject, or your regular sports practices and games.
- Your friends and teachers here and some of the extracurricular activities you like to engage in at Rectory.
Suggestion #4: For international ambassadors, help parents who do not speak English well.
Usually, the international ambassadors give tours to student visitors who come from the same country as they do. Thus, it’s your responsibility to take care of the parents who do not understand English. Please translate for them and explain important rules or special events to them. Tell them to feel free to ask you any questions in their native language, and answer them in the same language. This will be easier for them; it will also ensure that the parents understand the helpful information you are providing during the tour.
As the popularity of Rectory grows among international and American students, nowadays our school’s tour guides are taking on greater responsibilities. Congratulations to Rectory’s current Student Ambassadors! If you have been chosen to be a member of this group and have already lead several tours, you are an excellent student representative of our school! You can be very proud of this accomplishment!
We hope that after reading this article you have gained some useful information to help you in the future, whether you choose to be a school tour guide yourself, or you will simply be going on campus tours to choose your next school. We would be happy to hear any suggestions or feedback you may have about the Student Ambassador Program; if you would like to share, please write to us from the comments section below. And, if you are interested in becoming a Student Ambassador at Rectory, please contact Mrs. Gibbs in the Admissions Office!