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Campus tours provide guides, prospective students with meaningful experiences

Pictured are prospective students participating in a campus tour. The tours, which are offered by two different groups, aim to show visitors key parts of the UCLA campus. (Shane Yu/Daily Bruin staff)

By Milan Murphy

March 13, 2024 6:38 p.m.

This post was updated March 13 at 11:09 p.m.

Shepherded by undergraduates wearing blue polo shirts, high school seniors on Bruin Walk picture themselves walking to lectures in the fall.

These students are among the prospective students visiting the campus individually or as a group with UCLA Campus Tours, an organization within the undergraduate admissions office. UCLA Cub Tours, a student-run club, also provides opportunities for students who are between kindergarten and middle school to learn about college life and education.

Marleyna Adler, a third-year psychology student, said she knew she wanted to be a campus tour guide since she first arrived on campus. She added that she enjoys connecting with other people who are excited about UCLA and sharing her experiences with others.

“I loved the idea of sharing higher education and the resources that we can provide to incoming students, and I also love getting to speak and share and present, and so it’s a perfect match,” Adler said. “I love to go to UCLA and fell in love with the school. I knew I had to be a tour guide.”

Having a diverse group of tour guides with different majors and interests is key to ensuring accurate portrayals of the campus community, Adler said. The campus tours aim to leave prospective students feeling more confident in their potential future at UCLA, she added.

The main takeaway for students touring the university is the importance of finding a college that fits them well, said Raashi Chaudhari, the internal operations coordinator for Campus Tours.

“I love UCLA, but it’s okay if you don’t. I just wanted to share why I think it’s so special, and I think that it’s important that you find the same things that I found here in whatever school that fits you best,” said Chaudhari, a fourth-year cognitive science student. “As much as I’ll say ‘Go Bruins,’ you just have to find the right home for you.”

While Campus Tours provides a big emphasis on why its guides chose UCLA, Cub Tours works to get children excited about the prospect of life after high school, said Naomi Boodhoo, a Cub Tours coordinator.

Boodhoo, who is also a fourth-year education and psychology student, said she found her home on campus when she joined Cub Tours. She added that she appreciates the welcoming community among tour guides.

Giving tours to children, teaching them about college life and encouraging them to pursue higher education is the highlight of Boodhoo’s week, she said.

Cub Tours are a lot of children’s first exposure to college, Boodhoo said, adding that it is important to share details on college life and make a positive memorable experience for them.

“Most importantly, they know that there’s someone on a college campus who believes in them and knows that they have a spot in higher education, too,” Boodhoo said.

While giving tours, Cub Tour guides tell jokes about potato trees outside Kerckhoff Hall and ask attendees to find the asymmetry of Royce Hall, Boodhoo said. Naomi Young, a third-year English and psychology student, added that injecting funny stories – such as ones about prank wars with the students of the University of Southern California – helps get the children excited about college.

Young said she also talks about the application process and financial aid on her Cub Tour, reminding students they can choose from over 100 majors.

“College can be for everyone,” she said.

In addition to talking about the academic aspect, Young said she makes sure to emphasize the many ways a student can find community and form friendships in college.

While both Campus and Cub Tour guides want interested students and families who ask many questions, there are occasions in which they receive unwelcome or strange participants.

During campus tours, Adler said it is common for students to question her personal choices, such as why she did not join Greek life and her high school grades. Chaudhari added that one time a parent argued with her, stating she believes intramural sports should count for class credit.

On Cub Tours, guides also have to dodge questions children frequently ask about parties, Young said.

However, Campus and Cub Tours also offer rewarding experiences for the guides and the groups.

On Bruin Day, when all the admitted students are invited to come to UCLA, both Adler and Chaudhari said they have had admitted students commit to UCLA on their tours. Adler added that her most rewarding memory was when a former tour attendee recognized her on campus and told her they had chosen to attend UCLA post-tour.

[Related: From twin Bruins to generations of blue and gold: A look inside Bruin Day 2023]

While Cub Tours does not deal with students older than eighth grade, Boodhoo said there are still rewarding experiences, including seeing the children’s excitement at the prospect of college. Boodhoo added that her favorite memory happened the first time she was giving a tour on her own: A little girl gave her a Rainbow Loom bracelet, which is now one of her prized possessions.

“Overall, doing a tour and hearing them say how excited they are to come to UCLA really reminds you … to be grateful for this opportunity to actually get to spend your college years here at this campus,” she said.

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