For prospective students wondering if Texas Tech is the right school for them, Tech’s campus tour program can potentially provide an answer.
Forrest Stovall, the supervisor for Tech’s Visitors Center at West Hall, said the tour program is robust, with two daily tours Monday through Friday along with a tour on one or two Saturdays a month.
“They’ll go through the recreation center,” Stovall said, “they’ll go through the College of Media and Communication to see the different academic buildings on campus, the library, the Student Union Building, and our tour itself concludes at Wall/Gates Residence Hall.”
The tour guides are members of President’s Select, Stovall said, which is an organization composed of 60 to 70 students.
Stovall said the purpose of President’s Select is supporting the Office of the President through helping with hosted events, the Athletic Department through recruiting and giving tours to athletes, and the Undergraduate Admissions office through the daily tours and recruitment events such as Connect Tech.
Bailey Dowler, a tour guide and a junior public relations major from Los Angeles, said she became a tour guide in spring 2016 because of her passion for recruitment. Moreover, her inability to visit Tech until she went for orientation also served as an incentive.
“It’s about really making students feel welcome and kind of pushing them, or urging them, to go to Tech because I didn’t get to see it,” Dowler said. “So, I know seeing the campus really helps.”
Dowler said she enjoys talking to potential students because interacting with current students positively influences potential students’ school choice.
Casey Fleming, a tour guide and a junior human development and family studies major from San Antonio, said she agreed that interacting with a student guide is a major factor in deciding which school one goes to.
“I had a girl reach out to me, and she was like, ‘You were the reason that I made the decision,’” Fleming said, “and that made me feel so good because it made me feel like my job is done.”
If one person in the tour becomes excited at the prospect of attending Tech, then the tour guide’s goal is accomplished, Fleming said.
The admissions office often collaborates with other departments on campus to help with recruitment events, Stovall said, with one example being visitors attending information sessions at each college at Tech.
“They are able to have a general information session,” Stovall said, “but then also sometimes they’ll want a tour, meet with their professors, things of that nature.”
Other collaborations can include a prospective student shadowing a class or exploring available tutoring options, Stovall said.
Reactions of students and parents to the tours are generally complimentary, Dowler said.
They tend to be amazed at the campus’s size and facilities, Dowler said.
“I’ve had multiple students on my tours yell ‘Guns Up’ or ‘Wreck ‘em’ or ‘Raider Power,’” Dowler said, “and that’s really cool because it shows the prospective students we are very spirited, we are one big family.”
Dowler said the point of the tour is representing Tech well and leaving a lasting impression on the visitors, regardless of whether or not they enroll.
The campus tour is one of the most important parts of the recruitment process, Stovall said, which is why the tour guides work hard to make prospective students feel special.
“It’s definitely worth it at the end of the day,” Stovall said, “whenever you see students on campus that either may not have been considering Texas Tech in the first place or may not be too excited to be here, but then afterwards they just fall in love with it.”