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Helping to Make a Decision

Tour guides on Endicott College campus
Endicott tour guides lead prospective students and families around the College on a daily basis, bringing their own experiences and jokes along the way.
By: Madison Schulman

Grace Wlodarczyk ’25 first toured Endicott when she was just five years old. She came with her mother who worked as a guidance counselor and needed to learn more about the College so she could talk about it with her own students.

Since then, Endicott has been in the back of Wlodarczyk’s mind, especially with her older brother attending the College as well. Wlodarczyk likes to weigh her options, so in high school, she decided to officially tour the College and make a decision.

As a prospective (and now current) elementary education major, Wlodarczyk was paired with a tour guide that studied in the same field. The personal experiences recounted by the tour guide stuck with her, and, as a result, Wlodarczyk choose Endicott.

Who was this tour guide? None other than Katie Watts ’23, now a great friend of Wlodarczyk’s. Inspired by Watts, Wlodarczyk decided to become a tour guide herself during her very first year.

Learning the script, but expecting the unexpected

Thirty Endicott students currently work as tour guides, leading prospective students and families around campus anywhere from two to three times a week, plus weekends. Class and extracurricular activities are worked around so student guides can participate.

Each guide learns about the various departments, schools, and happenings on campus. They also go through safe zone training, which helps them navigate a variety of situations and respectfully interact with people of all backgrounds.

While shadowing an experienced tour guide on several tours, new tour guides soon develop their own script they’ll use over and over again, adlibbing and personalizing along the way.

“I got to tag along with other tour guides, mainly seniors and juniors, and see their tips and tricks and use some of their jokes,” said business management major Alex Olvera ’24. “That’s kind of how I formed my own little routine and script for when I do my tours too.”

After guiding tours for over two years, Olvera said she’s incorporated more jokes and personal experiences into her tours.

“Once you kind of throw out a joke in there, everyone gets a laugh. They get more comfortable,” said Olvera. “They want to ask more questions and get more involved. It’s not robotic. It’s more like a regular conversation.”

Another way to break the ice with prospective students and families is to find a way to relate to them, said communications major Abby Colt ’25. Colt said she typically asks where a student is coming from to see if it’s close to her hometown. She also asks about interests in extracurricular activities and connects them to what Endicott offers.

“I’ve had a very positive experience here. I try and share as much of my experience with those students,” said Colt. “The only way you’re ever going to really see where you’re supposed to be is if people are being honest with you. I definitely try and do that for them.”

Of course, tour guides can only do so much planning before something goes off-script.

While leading a one-on-one tour, Colt, who is an active Relay for Life member, ran into the club’s advisors, who were holding a full plate of churros—but not for long. Nothing’s better than churros, after all.

Hospitality major Nicholas Giunta ’23 said professors and even deans often spontaneously make an appearance, giving tour-goers “an opportunity to see that our deans and professors are also huge advocates for the school,” said Giunta. “They love speaking with prospective students, and they love advocating for the school in general, which I think is really important.”

Having an impact

Giunta understands that choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions of a young person’s life and it’s a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly.

“My job as a tour guide, for me personally, is to provide them with as much information on the school as possible for them to make an informed decision on whether or not they would feel comfortable here,” he said.

Several tour guides recognized that many students from their past tours have shown up in their orientation groups, or that they’ve since spotted them on campus. While walking to the dining hall, Olvera said students will come up to her saying she was their tour guide and she inspired them to come to Endicott.

While helping students choose a college is a great part of the tour-guiding process, building connections is also a benefit.

“It’s just a fun thing to do with my day that I enjoy—going to see the other tour guides and being able to take different people out, meeting new people from all over the country,” said Colt. “Just get to learn a little bit about different people and their experiences.”

Computer science major Ramsey Martinez ’26 said becoming a tour guide was another way to meet new people when he first came to Endicott. He explained that he’s close friends with many other tour guides, and called the group a little community. They’re all willing to help each other, and laugh a lot, he said.

“I love it. I’m definitely going to do this in the future, I could definitely see myself doing it until senior year. It’s a great time and I’m glad I did it.”

Learn more about Endicott tours. Prospective students may also connect with current students to ask questions about their experiences.