Every spring, hundreds of prospective Lawrence students flood the campus during admitted students weekends, attempting to make one of the more difficult and confusing decisions or their young lives. It’s up to current Lawrence students to help inform and guide them by showing “prospies” the Lawrence that we know and love, and answering their questions about what life is like on campus. It’s a job that requires a lot of work and grants Lawrence students a lot of power, but Lawrence tour guides and overnight hosts put a lot of though and effort into the work that they do.
Senior intern of admissions, Max Burgess, explained further the draw of working with prospies. “It’s a cool feeling when you’re giving a tour to someone and they make their decision based on how the tour went.” With all of the sway that tour guides and overnight hosts have on these students and their impression of Lawrence, it’s difficult to decide how to portray the school. Burgess explained that he tries to promote “the community aspect [of Lawrence], also the personalized attention that a student receives,” whenever he is working with admitted students. “ Students will always ask what makes Lawrence different, because a lot of liberal arts colleges are really similar…. I try to focus on the personal attention you can receive from your professors here.”
But this responsibility is not as daunting as it sounds. “To me it’s almost not a job, because I love Lawrence,” Burgess elaborated.” Lawrence is a certain type of kid, it isn’t for everyone, but the right student will thrive here because of the community and support.” Trying to promote Lawrence to students that will do well here seems to be a common theme among tour guides. Freshman Margaret Koss expressed similar sentiments about helping students make the right decision, saying that she enjoyed “talking to [prospies] and answering their questions. [It] reminds me how much I love Lawrence and how I want others to have the same experience as me. I like thinking that I genuinely help them with their college decision process, because it’s super difficult.”
But it’s important for all students working with potential new freshman to remember to be honest about Lawrence, or any college for that matter. “Don’t lie to them about something,” Burgess advised. “There’s no perfect place, that’s not realistic. You just want to be as positive as possible and give an honest impression about how you feel about your school.” Lawrence definitely has its quirks and idiosyncrasies, and its important to remember that when working with students trying to find a school that will fit their interests and needs.
Even though this past weekend was the biggest perspective students weekend Lawrence has ever had, with over 130 students, it seems that Lawrentians like Burgess and Koss succeeded in giving off a positive and welcoming impression. Prospective student Kelsi Stimack, when asked about her first impression of Lawrence, thought that “It has a really cool vibe. Everyone is open and willing to try new things and be a community. Even though you’re at college it’s not unwelcoming or anything.” She went on to say that her decision was going to be a tough one, but that this weekend really gave her a strong idea of what kind of university Lawrence is.