Tour Guide Council and Virtual Big Red Admissions

As this 2021-2022 admissions cycle begins for interested applicants, the Admissions Office has started offering virtual tours, information sessions, and interviews to prospective students.

As this 2021-2022 admissions cycle begins for interested applicants, the Admissions Office has started offering virtual tours, information sessions, and interviews to prospective students. Since visitors are currently not allowed on campus, the Admissions Office and the Tour Guide Council have adapted their in-person programming to properly engage with interested students.

Over the summer, an in-depth, virtual tour of campus was filmed with the help of tour guides Dylan Welbourne ’21 and Marcos Maldacena ’21. Through the virtual tour, prospective students are able to take a look inside many buildings on campus, including the Lower Houses, Dickinson, and Stephens, as well as all academic buildings, community centers, athletic areas, performing and visual arts buildings, and experiential learning regions.

On not being able to give tours in-person, Head Tour Guide Bunny Hightower ’21 said, “The most difficult thing this year has been not getting to physically show students all the great things on campus. The virtual tour is still an option, but it’s different to be on campus and to see everyone walking around.”

After taking their virtual tour, prospective students are then matched with a Lawrenceville tour guide by Visit Coordinator Pat McKinnon. McKinnon pairs prospective students and tour guides together by looking at a variety of categories including gender, residential status, interests, geographical location, and sports. Each tour guide will then reach out to their assigned student, offering them the chance to ask questions and learn more about the School.

On speaking with interested applicants, tour guide Brian Tan ’21 said, “It’s been sad not being able to give tours in person, but it’s still very important for us to make sure that all prospective students feel like they are welcome. The most important thing is connecting the students to Lawrenceville and really getting them to understand Lawrenceville from a student’s point of view.”

According to Associate Dean of Admission Christine Ding, while it is hard to “recreate the sense of community and atmosphere of campus life,” the tour guides are still able to form a unique, personalized experience with prospective students. In addition, communication can now occur for longer periods of time, which was hard to achieve before. “No one was ever free during E period, but now students and tour guides can schedule a call anytime to talk,” said Ding.

On the other hand, the new online admissions process has not been free of challenges either, with one of the biggest issues being faulty Internet connections and Zoom interruptions. Reflecting on a particularly memorable interview, Ding shared, “Just the other day I was interviewing a girl, and her four-year-old brother burst into the room [and] I thought she was going to burst into tears…[her little brother and I] talked about dinosaurs, I told him about my daughter...it was just a really personal connection.”

In addition to holding virtual interviews, this year’s Admissions Team and Tour Guide Council are holding information sessions twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. According to Hightower, these sessions aim to inform prospective students and parents about the admissions process as well as answer any questions that may arise.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Hightower said, “Working with everyone on the Tour Guide Council and in the Admissions Office has been super amazing. Everyone has been really diligent on reaching out to interested students, and we’ve all been working really hard to be able to give some semblance of the normal experience to interested students...I really hope that in later months, we will be able to give everyone some sort of Revisit Day experience so they can truly experience Lawrenceville in person.”

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