Tour guides provide first impression

Addison Smith | Opinions Editor

There is something about a college tour that can make or break a school for a person. Take it from someone who ended up not applying to Syracuse University, her dream school, after an awful tour, the college tour is kind of important.

At most of the schools I visited and applied to, my tour guide was incredible. He or she was a wealth of knowledge, selected from a group of student leaders and actually interested in being a tour guide. Then, there was my tour guide at Duquesne, who was just kind of there.

I had two tours of Duquesne, one when I was a sophomore in high school and another my senior year after I was accepted with a scholarship. My tour sophomore year was incredible, the tour guide was personable and willing to talk about Duquesne beyond the script provided for him. My senior year tour guide was the opposite. He was sleepy. He was grouchy. He pointed to the mail center in Towers and grumbled something quick about it. Needless to say, he kind of sucked.

Whenever I discuss college tours, I think of my experience at the University of Richmond. He is the only tour guide I remember by name (Jack, in case you were wondering). However, it probably had something to do with the Richmond tour guide selection process why he sticks out in my mind.

Jack was adorable, quirky, planning on going to medical school and incredibly well-spoken for a 21-year-old. He was involved in campus life, volunteer organizations (there was a photo of him volunteering in Africa in the Richmond prospectus) and was the all-around American boy. He arrived to give the tour in khakis and a polo. He was put together and knew what he was doing. He had moms wrapped around his finger, teenage boys wanting to be him and teenage girls wanting to date him.

To be considered to become a tour guide at the University of Richmond, you must become a member of the Spider Key Society, which has different roles within itself, including tour guides, senior interns and office assistants. According to the Richmond website the “Spider Key Society tour guides are highly competitive positions on campus. We are seeking honest, mature, positive, well-spoken, trustworthy and responsible students. Most importantly, we want to work with students who enjoy speaking about their Richmond experiences and who have time to fully commit to this position.”

Obviously, based on that description and Jack the tour guide, Richmond takes campus tours seriously. However, the experience at Duquesne is not the same. Prospective students are not provided with the same care and student leaders that many other schools provide as campus tour guides.

Did you know that tour guides at Duquesne are awarded through work study positions? This prohibits students who care about the University and aren’t awarded work study from giving campus tours.

Let’s admit, that’s pretty screwed up. The people who care about the University may not be the ones who are the face of a person’s experience here. Instead, students are treated to those in work study who are working to get their paychecks.

Now, do not read this as a declaration that all campus tour guides at Duquesne stink and they should all be fired in favor of those who care about the school.

There are bound to be tour guides who actually care about Duquesne somewhere in the mix. However, take it from someone who relied heavily on campus tours, if the tour guide stinks, I’m going to assume bad things about the college.

So, Duquesne, let’s consider pulling from student leaders instead of work study applicants as campus tour guides. Even Duquesne may need a Jack the tour guide to push them forward, it worked for Richmond, except Jack the tour guide didn’t offer scholarship money to a doe eyed high school senior.


  1. maybe you should be writing an article more relevant to your experience as a student now since you don’t need to encounter tour guides anymore. And we get paid because its a job and this is an expensive private university. We can’t all pay the tuition ourselves. Maybe you should think about that before slandering someones job.

  2. well clearly you go here and the tours weren’t as big as a problem as you’re making them seem. Coming from a tour guide here, I love Duquesne and I love showing it off to potential students, and I care deeply about this place and my time here. I live off campus and come about 3 hours before my classes each day to give tours in the freezing snowing weather. Maybe you should do a little more research and actually interview a tour guide before you write this article which is not based on any facts, but the opinion of one person, who attends the University despite what you say.

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