My partner Shaun and I attended a student guided campus tour at 2 o’clock on Thursday, May 1st. This proved to be an interesting time slot, considering most pre-collegiate students were still in school, and most people in the work force were still at their jobs. To begin the tour, the tour guide gave a short lecture inside the building and answered any initial questions that the people had. Shortly after, we began the actual tour of campus at about 2:10 PM. We stepped foot just outside of the Office of Student Life into the 95-degree heat.
Before embarking on our walk around campus, our tour guide gave an introduction to the group. This entailed some personal background information about herself including her year, major, and why she decided to come to Santa Clara. She spoke about her decision to attend Santa Clara very positively, almost as if she was giving a sale’s pitch. She then proceeded to ask each young adult, including Shaun and I, if we were potential students or currently enrolled. After her introduction concluded, Shaun and I distributed consent forms for our participants to sign, and explained the report we were working on.
Our tour group included one family of three from Seattle, made up of a father, a mother and a daughter, as well as another man who was a local high school counselor and was interested in getting a better feel for Santa Clara. The daughter from the family of three was a junior in high school seriously considering Santa Clara University as her future school. After our forms were signed, we officially headed out on our tour.
As we walked slowly towards our first stop, the College of Arts and Sciences, the tour guide immediately began attempting to get to know the high school girl on a more personal level. They walked in front of the group while everyone tailed shortly behind. We entered the Arts and Sciences building, and listened to a long informational speech about the building and what goes on inside of it. Our tour guide gave some statistics about the Arts and Sciences Department and some fun facts. She spoke specifically to the girl, as she was planning on studying pre-med, a major in the College of Arts and Sciences. After she was done talking, the counselor asked the first question of the tour, “How easy is it to double major?” Our tour guide responded by explaining the recommendation to double major in fields that are closely related to one another.
After this we began walking over to the Business School, Lucas Hall. Just as she did before, the tour guide now attempted to get to know the prospective student’s parents better, while the rest of us trailed behind. Here in Lucas Hall, our tour guide explained all about the business school and the building. She pointed out the café nearby and all about the classes that existed inside the building. After this lecture, we left as no questions were asked.
From here, we headed to the Mission. While out in front of the building, she touched on the importance of the Jesuit values and Jesuit education we receive at Santa Clara. She explained the different religion classes available at Santa Clara and the significance of each. She also talked about this church that we were in front of and the different masses available throughout the weeks. We walked through the Church after her speech and kept walking towards Benson. On our walk over she continuously said random fun facts about the University.
We stopped outside of Benson on the west side, and observed Swig, Dunne, McLaughlin, and Walsh from a distance. However, she did not refer to these building as such but instead by the corresponding names of the Resident Learning Communities. She heavily stressed the importance of community in the dorms and the campus as a whole.
Next, we walked through Benson and took a look at each restaurant in the Market place, where she greatly stressed the deliciousness and variety of food available on campus. She also explained the access card point system to the group, and why it is much better than a lot of other college dining plans. We were also informed about the tutoring services that were provided in the Benson basement.
Our stop in Benson was rather short, and we continued on to the Graham dorm building. Here, we visited a display room on the first floor of one of the standard Graham double suites. This portion of the tour seemed to spark the most interest out of the family. They really looked carefully through the room, opening closets and drawers. At this point, the mother asked if there were any single dorm rooms. Our tour guide answered her question, and the family seemed very content with the housing example provided by the campus tour. The tour guide explained the on campus housing process to the group and these different options available.
At this point we exited Graham and walked by the library. We never entered the library, but we received some information about it as we stood next to the impressive ARS system from the outside. Our group headed towards the Malley Fitness Center next, but again we did not enter, and instead received another speech from our tour guide about intramural sports, facilities, and recreation just outside of the building.
From here, we went to our final stop at the engineering buildings. Again, we did not enter the building but instead stood in the plaza and heard about what the engineering school has to offer. Finally, we arrived back where we started at the office of student life. Our tour guide gave us a final concluding speech, and asked if we had any questions. We then dispersed our questionnaires to the group and they filled each out with ease. We thanked the tour guide and the group for their cooperation and left the area.
The tour finished at around 3:05 PM. Overall, it was just about a 1-hour tour. This tour seems to skip some of the less impressive buildings, like the Daly Science Center and O’Connor, in order to highlight and display the major, and more impressive buildings for an extended period of time. Also, the tour was not able to enter many of the buildings and show off the specific facilities available at Santa Clara. Most of the content is centered on personal education, the Jesuit values, the accepting and diverse student body, and special opportunities that Santa Clara has to offer. The tour is definitely specialized for prospective students and their families, perhaps even more so for the parents. Throughout the tour, the audience is fed facts about why Santa Clara is a superior University. It seems like it is designed to persuade a prospective student into choosing Santa Clara as their college. During the tour, the tour guide interacted much more frequently and personally with the prospective student and her family. When giving speeches, the tour guide would mostly be speaking directly with the prospective student, and tried to have an ample amount of eye contact with her. It was clear that it was very important for the tour guide to make sure that these individuals had the best and most personal tour possible. As a visitor, we were shown many of the positives of Santa Clara University, but clearly we were not told of any of the negatives that we know of as enrolled students. The tour guide seemed to exaggerate some of the aspects of Santa Clara, such as the quality of the food and the facilities. It is obvious that the tour is made to persuade teachers and students into attending the university, and it only references each and every aspect of Santa Clara as positive.