Student tour guides welcome prospective families with insider experience

WELCOME+TO+MY+HOUSE.+Student+tour+guides%2C+faculty%2C+and+guest+families+gather+in+The+Huss+Center+Nov.+14+for+the+fall+open+house.

Salah Abdulkarim

WELCOME TO MY HOUSE. Student tour guides, faculty, and guest families gather in The Huss Center Nov. 14 for the fall open house.

With plenty of open houses around this time of year, admissions relies on the help of students to show prospective families around campus.

The student tour guide aspect of admissions has been a long-standing tradition: “Students have led tours at the lower school since the 1970s…Originally, the philosophy behind the tour guide program was to share the school’s confidence in our public speaking program and to show that we value the student perspective,” Senior Associate Director of Admissions Julie McGlincey said.

Student tour guides take pride in showing visiting families around the school and sharing their perspectives.

Junior Greta Magnuson said, “I have gone to SPA for my whole life so I feel like I have a very good understanding of the school…I like showing people around the Schilling Center…I try to take families around the Huss Center, and my favorite part would be showing people elective classes. There’s typically more visually interesting things to show prospective parents rather than just learning content from a board or video.”

I try to take families around the Huss Center, and my favorite part would be showing people elective classes. There’s typically more visually interesting things to show prospective parents rather than just learning content from a board or video.”

— Greta Magnuson

With many bases to cover across, academics, athletics, and facilities, this process is more challenging than it may seem.

“This is my first year [touring] in high school,” junior Jack O’Brien said.

The biggest challenge can be structuring the time to the family, he said. “It can often be pretty difficult because the people you’re guiding around the school when the family doesn’t tell you a lot about their interests.”

Touring is not an easy task, especially with the many tours and open houses that take place, student tour guides play a large role.

“We offer three Admission Open Houses on each campus through the admission season. They are in October, November and January. Tour guides typically tour 5- 8 families a week. With the number of tours that we offer yearly, it would be difficult to share the school if our admission team was the only ones available to tour. We couldn’t do this amazing work helping families …without the support of our student tour guides,” McGlincey said.

Most tour guides are selected based on free periods and connections to prospective families.