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Tours reveal beauty, character of campus

Riely, Kaitlynn | Friday, October 28, 2005

For some Notre Dame applicants, it’s the storied tradition, vivacious dorm life or infectious school spirit that sparks their interest in the University – but for prospective student Kate Harris it was a campus tour that solidified her decision to apply.

“You could kind of tell [the tour] was focused on academics but it wasn’t crazy focused – people had fun,” she said.

Notre Dame students lead tours several times a week, leaving from the Main Building and embarking on a journey across one of the nation’s most storied college campuses to show and describe to prospective students the character of the University.

Approximately 75 Notre Dame students work as tour guides for the admissions office. Tour guides must be at least a sophomore at the University and must go through a thorough application process. Before leading their first tour, student guides attend an information session and accompany a veteran on a campus tour.

The admissions office looks for students who can promote Notre Dame both through the actual tour and through example via their own achievements and involvement in University activities.

In order to give each prospect a tour suitable to his or her needs, tour guides introduce themselves and share their own majors and activities so students can be matched with a guide whose interests closely reflect their own.

Senior Lee Regner has been giving tours for the admissions office since April 2004. Students interested in the Notre Dame marching band usually choose him as a tour guide to hear about his own experiences in the band.

Since the information sessions given prior to tours cover statistics and other specific application facts, Regner and he and other tour guides are free to take a more personal approach in their descriptions of Notre Dame.

“I try to keep my tours story-based as opposed to telling factual type things,” he said.

Regner said he often talks about dorm spirit, SYRs, watching football from the student section and classes.

All tours begin at the Main Building, proceed through LaFortune, head toward the library, to the Stadium, through the halls of DeBartolo, past Main Circle, into the South Dining Hall, by the Coleman-Morse Center and Bond Hall, and conclude at the Grotto.

Sophomore Kate Dugan is in her first year as a tour guide. On her tours, she said she is usually asked questions about dorm life, the alcohol policy, the Catholic nature of Notre Dame and why she chose Notre Dame over other schools.

“People want to know what it’s like to be a Notre Dame student,” Dugan said.

Dugan averages one or two families per tour but said on football weekends her group can have nearly 30 people.

Admissions Coordinator Annette Edwards said her office rarely receives complaints about the tour guides.

“Generally, the tours are very thorough,” Edwards said. “The tour guides exemplify student life. They are diverse in the activities and majors they pursue.”

Before tours begin, members of the admissions staff give information sessions to prospective students that describe the application process and answer questions about admission requirements and SAT scores.

Information sessions are held on weekdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and both sessions are followed by tours at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. On Saturdays, information sessions are held at 9 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., and are followed by tours at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., respectively.