Tour Guides. Student Ambassadors. Experts in Walking Backwards. Whatever you call them; they can make or break a prospective family’s visit experience. Is being a tour guide a premium job on your campus? It should be.
- A selective nomination and interview process: solicit nominations from faculty and other staff that know the students best, have applicants give a brief mock tour, and include current tour guides in the interview and selection process.
- A robust training program, including: shadowing experienced tour guides, conducting supervised tours until approved to go solo, regular updates from academic departments, and inclusion in admission staff meetings.
- Rewarding and recognizing their efforts: share positive feedback from families, recognize their special skill with higher than average student worker pay, and thank them publically; treat them like valued employees.
Like any resource, a quality tour guide program requires investment. A cadre of exceptional ambassadors with a strong esprit de corps is worth the effort – we hear time and time again in student focus groups that the deal maker (or breaker) in the decision of where to enroll was the tour. And this investment can continue to pay dividends even after they graduate, tour guides turn into young alums that are fully trained to help with recruitment. Make sure your tour guide program is putting your institution’s best foot forward (or is it backward?).
If being a tour guide is THE job to have on campus, you’ll know you’re there.
Image © iStockphoto.
About the author: Jennifer Wick joined the Scannell & Kurz team as an Enrollment Management Consultant in May 2011 before becoming Vice President in July 2014. She provides consulting on a wide range of enrollment management topics from pricing and financial aid strategies, retention initiatives, and recruitment planning to operations in student service offices. Jen comes to S&K from Clarkson University where she served for eleven years in enrollment roles, nine of those years as Director of New Student Financial Assistance. Her experience encompasses both financial aid and admissions responsibilities, specializing in balancing financial aid strategies with enrollment targets and retention concerns. She has conducted enrollment data analysis, managed regional territories, and created successful financial aid strategies for targeted demographics. In addition, Jen has a keen interest in retention, including predictive model development to identify at-risk first-year students.
She is a regular contributor to University Business and speaks at national conferences such as annual meetings of NASFAA, ACT Enrollment Planners, Aligning Experts Summit, etc.
Jen earned a B.S. and M.S. in Physics, both from Clarkson University. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.