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Admissions to revamp campus tours, alter routes

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 15:02

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Emma Boyd for the Tufts Daily

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is altering its tours after reviewing the admissions tours at several nearby universities.

 

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is rolling out changes to its tour program following a recent review of other universities’ tour offerings for prospective students.
Although the current tour program regularly receives positive responses, according to Associate Director of Admissions Daniel Grayson, he believes that parts of it can be altered to better reflect Tufts’ culture and the value of a Tufts education.
Changes will include minor alterations to the tour route and an emphasis on students’ experiences at Tufts, Grayson said.
The new tours will feature a detour through the “back end” of the Academic Quad to see engineering buildings, he said, with tour guides also using the windows of the Granoff Music Center to view the athletic fields.
Rather than giving statistics like class size and student-to-faculty ratios, tour guides will be encouraged to tell stories about their individual experiences, Grayson added.
“If you’re doing research in a lab or you’re taking a cool class, you have a two- or three-minute stop where the point is to get people to think differently about the world as a result of the experience they have,” he said. “One of the major selling points is ‘Tufts will broaden your world.’ If people can leave the tour feeling like they’ve learned something substantive, that’s a way to model for them the kind of experience they’ll have at Tufts.”
Grayson, Admissions Counselors Justin Pike and Nicholas Kruter and sophomore tour guide Matthew Braly took tours of Babson College, Boston College and Brown University to determine how Tufts can distinguish itself from other universities in the eyes of applicants.
Grayson explained that their three-college trip uncovered several redundancies, as almost every tour guide joked about tripping while walking backwards or referred to their campus’ oldest building as “the Hogwarts building.” This is especially problematic in Boston since families often tour multiple colleges in a single day, he said.
The admissions office hopes to replace such elements with material that reflects on Tufts as a modern campus that adapts to changing trends and thought patterns, Grayson said.
He mentioned Tufts’ strong lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as a significant draw to the school that would not have been talked about during tours in the past. Grayson believes that talking about such issues on tours will set the university apart from its peers.
“How much of what people have been talking about on campus tours is a function of what was being talked about 20 years ago?” he said. “There are a range of issues that didn’t exist even five or 10 years ago that exist now — Coming Out Day was this subversive thing 15 to 20 years ago. There’s an opportunity to talk about … these student issues.”
Some of the changes, such as the alteration of the tour route, will happen within a matter of weeks, but others will take more time because of the number of tour guides who must be trained under the new system, Grayson said.
Junior Cole von Glahn, an admissions tour guide, expressed approval of the changes to the program, noting that current tour guides were consulted in the process.
However, he questioned whether more experienced tour guides, having already perfected the existing program, would actually adhere to the modifications.
“I think it’s going to be weird for the old guys,” Von Glahn said. “I know in the past, often the older guys have been like, ‘I’ve been doing this long enough. I don’t really want to change it.’ I hope that doesn’t happen, because I think most of the changes sound pretty good.”

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