Applications for voluntary tour guide positions double despite lack of salary

With an increase in the number of admissions, the Admissions Office made prominent changes to their Ambassador Program this past month. These included the new position of Panelist, as well as the existing position of Tour Guide being made voluntary. Dean of Admission and Student Aid/ Vice President of Enrollment, Grant Gosselin, stated that the overall reception to these changes have been positive.

According to an email sent out by Senior Assistant Director of Admission, Timothy Cushing, the tour guides will continue to provide prospective students and their families with a comprehensive and engaging campus tour.

“The tour guides that we have this year are enthusiastic and have a true love of Wheaton and are bringing that into their tours,” said Gosselin.

He went on to add, “Many of last year’s guides have chosen to continue their service as guides this year because they love Wheaton and want to share their experiences with our prospective students.” Gosselin explained that the funds freed up from no longer paying tour guides have been reallocated to other student work positions within the Enrollment Division and throughout the college. He also added that the college’s overall student employment budget is slightly larger than it was last year.

Gosselin stated that even tour guides who had Federal Work Study allocations would not be paid, as certain students could not be volunteers while others get paid for the same role. This decision has not hampered the number of tour guide applications as Gosselin said, “We actually almost doubled our applicant pool this year. We did a better job of promoting the position around campus and to the students in our host program to encourage them to continue working in our office.”

Gosselin added that the other major change was in the way in which admission information sessions were run.

“In the past, the sessions were led by a member of the admissions staff for a 45-60 minute presentation. This year and moving forward, our sessions will be moderated by a member of the staff, and the stars of the show will be our current students,” said Gosselin, “students will serve on a panel and will be empowered to answer the questions of our visitors through their own student experience. We piloted this program during the summer, and it was incredibly well received by our visitors.”