Students’ personal stories are a key to authentic campus tours.
By Pauline Oo; illustration by Jenna Freimuth
First impressions matter, and St. Kate’s Admission Ambassadors know it. They’re the University’s official tour guides. They lead flocks of wide-eyed
prospective students and their parents across the University’s main campus pointing out unique qualities of various buildings and sharing personal anecdotes.
“Stories are huge on tours,” says Nyda Xiong SP’14, who has led campus tours (yes, often walking backward) since her sophomore year. She remembers being on the other side as a high school student.
“I knew I wanted to go to college, and I wasn’t a fan of big classes,” she says. “St. Kate’s did a remarkable job winning me over. I met great people on my tour, and I liked the small classes and student diversity I saw. Even my parents were impressed. I’m a first-generation college student, and I’m proud to be a Katie.”
Approximately 800 students visit campus each year, says Samantha Savoie SP’08, assistant director of admission. “There is extensive research done on campus tours,” Savoie says, “and those findings tell us that it can really impact a student’s decision for continuing to pursue information about the university they are visiting.”
Tours are offered weekdays at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. throughout the year. The Admission Ambassadors — about 25 per semester — follow a predetermined route with 12 stops, and most are pretty adept at peppering the official script with engaging stories or tidbits from their own experiences.
“All of them have gone through the decision-making process that a prospective student is going through,” says Savoie, a triplikate and seasoned campus guide herself. (She began leading tours as a first-year student.) “So, our Admission Ambassadors can really give our visitors an authentic opinion.”
Pauline Oo is managing editor of SCAN.