How to Deal When College Tours Invade

They came in flocks this past February and Liam Neeson was amongst them. You have seen them encroaching our campus this week. With many high schools on spring break, including schools in  BC’s home state of Massachusetts, we can safely say “THEY’RE BAAAAAACK!” Massive tour groups are here and you will see prospective students and excited parents eating in our dining halls, touring our buildings and Instagramming in front of Gasson.

As a seasoned tour guide as well as a person well aware of my surroundings, this week has always been full of activity for me. As students we can relate to the prospective students because we were once in their shoes and understand the overwhelming stress and excitement of the college application process. Despite relating to them, however, we cannot help but be a little annoyed by the longer lines in our dining halls and the staring, pointing and questions you may get from families. We cannot blame these families for coming to visit BC though, I mean who wouldn’t want to go here?

I can admit, this week may be a bit overwhelming with so many more people here on campus, but there is no need to stress! Whether you embrace or avoid their presence, here are some tips for how to get through this week as massive tour groups join our BC community.

Tip #1: Do not go to dining halls on the hour or half hour.

Tours go on the hour and the top question from many parents and kids after the tour is “Where can we eat on campus?” Since the tours commonly end on middle campus, they will be going to the same places as us. Also, all tour guides totally talk up the Frips at Hillside (as they rightfully should) and therefore expect a longer line for your coveted paninis. Plan your meals accordingly or else you may be facing the Thursday Mac & Cheese line of the Rat on a daily basis in most dining halls.

Tip #2: Watch out for tour guides, they do NOT have eyes on the back of their heads.

Despite the secret talent that many tour guides have of walking backwards as they lead tour groups around campus, they do not have eyes in the back of their head and therefore can’t see you behind them. Make sure you work your way around them or holler if you see them heading towards a bench in the quad to avoid all accidents.

Tip #3: Factor in time for “tour detours.”

With the end of the semester coming close, I am sure it is difficult enough for you to get yourself to class on time. Throwing in mass mobs of super-involved parents and curious high school students, your chance of getting to class on time is now getting even slimmer. As someone who was once trapped in Higgins with no way to get around a tour group and no good excuse for my ill-amused professor, this is a piece of advice I have taken to heart.  Guess that snooze button will have to wait.

Tip #4: You may feel like a fish in a fish bowl, but don’t stare back.

As tour groups work their way through buildings like Stokes and Fulton, you may notice them staring through the glass window of the door trying to get a peak into a “real” college classroom. It is hard not to feel like a rare specimen in a zoo when they stare at you, but just stay focused on your work (we only have a week of classes left) and don’t stare back: we all know that awkward feeling of making eye contact with someone you caught staring at you.

Tip #5: Practice your ability to give directions.

We walk to our classes everyday, but sometimes when someone asks us how to get somewhere from our current point we are at a loss for words. Instead of being brain dead if this happens to you, imagine a map in your head of campus and remind yourself of how to use a compass.  Fair warning: you may be asked how to get to Devlin from Lower campus and get the dirtiest look of disbelief when you tell them the most direct option is the Million Dollar Stairs, but don’t take this personally.

Tip #6: You may begin to think you can recite lines from tour guides.

As a former tour guide, I am aware of some facts and anecdotes that we all like to rattle off. Some them include:

  • Near Bapst: “A lot of people say that Bapst looks like it is from Harry Potter, it has actually been voted one of the most beautiful college libraries.
  • In Fulton: “Some say that this foyer area is based off of The Wizard of Oz, can any of you see how?”
  • By St. Ignatius Statue: “Jesuits….service…men and women for others.”
  • On Linden Lane: “This is Mile 21 of the Boston Marathon and Marathon Monday is one of BC students’ favorite ‘holidays.”
  • In Higgins: “Largest magnet at a university and therefore all are attracted to BC.”
  • In the Quad: “Doug Flutie Likes Golf”

Tip #7: Remember how excited you were when you were touring BC. 

"You, I wanna be just like you."

The students are excited be on this beautiful campus and envious of how “cool” we are and the parents are interested in how the next four independent years of their child’s life will be like in college. With this combination, random families may approach you on campus, despite your headphones, with many questions. Instead of blowing them off, remember we are “men and women for others” and you were once in their shoes. Answer their questions and let them know from personal experience why you choose and love BC. Honestly, this feedback from a student is more valuable than information that any website or pamphlet can offer. Be honest and helpful!

Tip #8: Be prepared for some bizarre questions.

Now I know I just told you to be polite and pleasant with any questions that come your way but that does not mean you cannot chuckle about some of the quirky ones that may come your way. Some parents want some really personal information about drinking, relationships, your financial aid situation, where you live on campus, if they see your dorm, whether their will child be the next President of the US and even whether you can get them into the school. Trust me, just when you think your parents had weird questions about the school and your future, you meet these folks. Censor your answers to be informative but not too invasive and think that as embarrassed as you may, you cannot be more embarrassed than them after the fact.

These are just a few tips for how to deal with the massive tour groups this week and you can choose to follow them or not. It is always nice to have a lively campus and to get a peak into the next generation of BC Eagles. Who knows, maybe a celebrity’s kid will come by again! If not, though, it is cool to consider your self as the celebrity because to be honest all these tours want to be you!


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