As everyone can surely remember, applying to colleges can be a very stressful and time consuming experience for high school seniors. Who else remembers packing up the car to drive to varying college campuses for interviews, information sessions, and overnights? But, arguably the most important experience prospective students have is their first tour of a college campus, making the job of college tour guides extremely important.
Here at Muhlenberg, the tour guide program is extremely competitive. Freshmen are able to apply at the end of their first semester. After filling out an application and being interviewed by admissions and other veteran tour guides, a large yet select group of students are then chosen to begin their tour guide training. Each beginner tour guide is assigned to be with a veteran tour guide. The tour guide trainees are required to shadow their mentor and give mock tours in order for the training wheels to officially be taken off.
Being a tour guide is definitely a big undertaking for college students. Not only is the position a lot of work and time consuming, but each tour guide is responsible for representing Muhlenberg to prospective students and their families. Clearly, being a tour guide is a very big responsibility. Although being accepted into the tour guide program by the college admissions is competitive, the position is actually unpaid. This begs one to question why so many students here at Muhlenberg wish to be a part of the tour guide community?
“I became a tour guide because of how enthusiastic I was about being a Muhlenberg student,” said Matthew Riebesell ’19. Riebesell is also this year’s Tour Guide Coordinator.
Riebesell’s job as Tour Guide Coordinator is a huge undertaking for a student. “Basically, my job is mainly to find coverage for group tours coming to campus open house events, and assist my supervisor, Danielle Auerbach, with programs like the tour guide training, tour guide workshops, and popular tour days such as Saturday or holiday tours,” said Riebesell.
But, Riebesell’s job as Tour Guide Coordinator requires him to put in more hours than the average tour guide. “Each week truly varies depending on how many groups come to campus and what events there may or may not be, but I usually total around 25 hours a week,” said Riebesell.
Every tour guide is assigned a specific time slot on one day a week as their tour time for the semester. But, each week as a tour guide certainly varies. Sometimes, there are not many tours that go out or there are2 or 3 tours going out every half hour.
Riebesell’s enthusiasm about Muhlenberg is very similar to other tour guides as well. “I decided to be a tour guide because I love Muhlenberg and wanted to show other students how great of an experience I have had here,” said Alex Hyatt ’19.
Although this position is unpaid here at Muhlenberg, being a tour guide is rewarding in many other ways. “Climbing the ranks of the program has helped me build skills in many different areas as each job is so different…More important than any character trait I may have improved or formed, though,some of the truly amazing people I have become close with throughout my time in the program. I would certainly say that I have gained mentors and friends by being a part of the program,” said Riebesell.
Additionally, “this program has made me a much better public speaker. I have improved in my presenting skills as well, thanks to giving so many tours,” said Hyatt.