We get it… tours can be scary! If you’re reading this, you maaay be a little nervous to give one. But, don’t worry – those nerves? They just mean you’re trying to get it right. You love your school and you want everyone else to as well! So, congrats, they picked the perfect student for the job. Now, we’re just here to help you seal the deal. Here’s how to kick off one killer campus tour:
First, start strong 💪
As soon as you meet your visitors, you can begin with a friendly opener. For example, try something like:
“Hey guys! Welcome to [HCU]! First, let’s start with some introductions – I’ll go first. My name’s [Jane Doe], and I’m a [junior English] major from [Naples, Florida]! When I’m not giving tours, I spend my time doing [club tennis and student congress]. But, today, I’m psyched to show you our school campus. Before we start, how about we get to know everyone a little better? Does each prospective student want to say their name, where they're from, and what they might be interested in studying? If you don’t know, no problem! Just say undecided.”
A warm welcome can go a long way. Your goal is always to make prospective students feel comfortable. That being said, the key to every great tour is fostering communication and connection between you and your visitors!
So, talk with them, not at them 🗣️
And yes, this works for live virtual tours too!
Now, it’s important to let each student introduce themselves. Why? This tour is ultimately not for you – it’s for them. Some visitors may have traveled far to your campus, or reserved this time out of their schedule especially to attend your event and meet with you; Others may have your college at the top of their list! So, try to keep that in mind. The first step to being courteous is getting to know your prospects.
As each student introduces themselves, make an effort to interact with them. Remember your experiences with college tours? Yeahhh, they’re nervous too, so offer some affirmation!
If they’re interested in being in the same major as you, say something along the lines of “[English]! A girl/guy after my own heart, love to hear it!"
They’re interested in something else? Maybe you say, “Oh, awesome! My friend/roommate is in [Biology] and has the coolest professors.”
If they’re from the same state as you, ask, “No way. Where in [Florida]?”
From far away? Say, “Wow, all the way from [New Jersey]. Well, you picked a good school to visit!” or “What brought you all the way here?”
Interaction is everything. Even remembering a visitors’ name can make a huge impact on how welcome they feel! In our opinion: the more personal your tour is, the better it is. It should be about what they want to know about your campus, but how do you know what that is?
After introductions, you’ll set the tone of your tour and transition into talking about your school. Tours aren’t a ‘one size fits all’ kind-of-deal, so, here, you get to be creative! We’ll give you an example though, just in case:
“Okay, great! It’s so nice to meet all of you. Before we move on, I wanna emphasize that this tour is all about you, not me! So, please feel free to interrupt me at any time. Let me know if you want me to speed up, slow down, stop at an additional point on campus, or ask me any questions. I wanna talk with you guys, not at you guys! That being said, are there any questions right off the bat? Any sites or programs you may want to hit during the tour?”
Of course, there will always be essential tour stops like the library, cafeteria, dorm, etc. But, you may have a theater student who wants to hear about the arts program! Or an international prospect who has questions about study abroad – You’ll never know if you don't ask. Remember to focus on what they came to hear, not what you want to say. Take each question as they come but, usually, there won’t be many.
Then, your group should be ready to get this show on the road. Transition into the tour with something like:
“Awesome. Okay, well, let’s get to it! We’re starting off at [Harkins Hall], home to most of our [administrative offices – admissions, financial aid, and everything in between]...”
Sounds simple? We promise, it is. That’s all we have for starting your campus tour, but don’t miss out on our other two blogs: Paint the Picture and End Your Tour Strong. You’re already 1/3 of your way to being a perfect guide!