When I got back from break this week, I realized that Spring had finally found its way to Commonwealth Avenue. With the arrival of Spring, I’ve been enjoying the warmer temperatures and longer days while simultaneously avoiding the looming threat of finals season. But Spring has also brought something else to BU that I didn’t anticipate — campus tour groups.
Now more than ever, I find myself getting stuck behind throngs of slow-moving students and parents while I try to make it to my lecture across campus. After unintentionally observing these groups close-up, I’ve realized that there is a definitive pattern to the types of students who tour Boston University. So, like any good scientist, I’ve compiled my observations into a field journal. Here is a list of the eight types of students you can find touring campus this week.
1. The Early Decision Applicant
This student has already gotten into the university and has made it a point to make sure everybody on the tour knows it. At every stop on the tour, they will inform the tour guide and the rest of the group of how they plan to use whichever building the group is to stop in front of. In many cases, the Early Decision Applicant has already been to campus multiple times. They just can’t wait for Orientation to come around.
The early decision applicant’s catchphrase: “When I start next year …”
2. The Legacy
You can usually find the legacy student at the front of the tour group. They have grown up with the goal of attending their parent’s alma mater and they believe that their status as a legacy will make them a shoo-in. The legacy student often wears a vintage sweatshirt that once belonged to their parent. Alternatively, you can spot legacy students who have no interest in attending BU. These students are just taking the tour to placate their parents so that they can visit the schools they really want to apply to.
The legacy student’s catchphrase: “When my dad/mom was here …”
3. The Ivy League-r
This is a breed of students you can only find in the New England area. The large concentration of prestigious universities in the New England area attracts this high-achieving student who seeks to visit several potential schools in a short amount of time. After visiting Cornell, Brown, Harvard, and MIT, they’re just stopping at Boston University to take a look at their safety school.
The Ivy Leaguer’s catchphrase: “Yeah I guess this place is nice, but *insert school name* has a better program.”
4. The One Who Got Forced to Take the Tour
Make no mistake, this student has no intention of attending Boston University. They are forced to take the tour by an overbearing parent who is convinced that Boston University is the perfect school for them. Despite endless protests, they still find themselves walking down Commonwealth Avenue and resenting every minute of it. Only a small portion of this category of students will actually fall in love with the campus and ultimately commit to BU.
Their catchphrase: “Can we go now?”
5. The Reach Student
Have some sympathy for these students, because they are moments away from having a nervous breakdown. The Reach Student takes the tour knowing that they just barely meet the university’s GPA and test score standards. The pressure of the admissions process and the uncertainty of actually getting admitted to Boston University has pushed The Reach Student off the deep end. Boston University is the top choice of the reach student. This added pressure of knowing that this is their favorite school further makes them spiral into madness.
The reach student’s catchphrase: “I’ll never get in so I shouldn’t bother taking the tour.”
6. The Squad
The Squad isn’t just one prospective student, it’s a heard of students who have decided that it would be fun to take the tour together. The squad typically belongs to a larger school group that is on a carefully-planned college tour trip. The squad doesn’t learn too much about the school they are touring because they are too busy taking selfies with school landmarks and giggling about an inside joke in the back of the group.
The squad’s catchphrase: “We should totally be roommates”
7. The Trust Fund Baby
The Trust Fund Baby takes college tours like they are shopping for a new outfit. To them, universities are just like designer clothes on a rack that only vary in appearance and they browse while completely ignoring the price tag. The trust fund baby steps on campus knowing that no matter what, a spot at the university will miraculously open up for them. Provided, of course, that their parents pay for the new wing of the library.
Trust fund babies don’t have a catchphrase as they don’t talk much, but they can be heard tapping away at their phone screen.
8. The Younger Sibling
This student is dragged along for the ride while their older sibling checks out the campus. Enterprising parents figure that bringing the younger sibling will save them from coming back for a second tour once that younger sibling starts applying to college too. In reality though, the younger sibling has no interest in touring campus and is currently preoccupied with the latest iPhone game.
The younger sibling’s catchphrase: “Mom, my feet hurt.”
I laugh about admissions tours, but seeing these groups also makes me nostalgic. Two years ago, I was just like many of these prospective students, wandering around an unfamiliar campus with no idea what I wanted to do with my life. They remind me of how far I’ve come since I first stepped on the tree-lined sidewalks of Bay State Road.
So, instead of getting angry when a loud tour group storms through the library or stands in your way on Commonwealth Avenue, I’ve tried to welcome the prospective students as if they were new members of the BU community. Who knows, a year from now I might become friends with those same students who made me late to my lecture.