As the weather warms up and the decision deadline for high school seniors approaches, campus tours become a staple of Spring Quarter at Ohio State.
Ohio State’s 65 University Ambassadors lead the tours and convey aspects about academics and campus life, while also sharing their own OSU experiences.
College admissions research shows that campus tours are some of the most influential resources a student uses in their college decision.
“We want to share our experiences and information to help future college students figure out if Ohio State is the right university for them. We had over 38,000 prospective students and guests visit our campus last year, so our team is important to help show Ohio State to many individuals that come to our campus,” said Ebony Smith, program coordinator of the University Ambassadors.
The idea of recruiting potential students could be a dream job to many, but Smith said the hiring process, which is underway for next year, is extremely selective.
“The process is very competitive because Buckeyes are passionate about their school and they want to share that with prospective Buckeyes,” Smith said.
Jacqui Snyder, a third-year in marketing and hospitality management and a current university ambassador, said the process was challenging because she had the opportunity to see how qualified many of the applicants were.
“It’s hard because you’re always worried you won’t make it to the next round, just like with job interviews,” Snyder said. “I think what makes it tougher is that you see your competition during the group interview and you can see how qualified people are.”
This year saw a record number of applicants, with 305 students applying, Smith said. The program will only hire about 30 students to fill the paid positions.
Applicants will know whether or not they have been hired by June 3, Smith said.
Ambassadors are not required to reapply each year, Smith said. They hold their position as long as they are at Ohio State or until they are terminated.
Smith said it’s important for Ambassadors to be passionate about OSU and be able to comfortably and professionally tell stories about their OSU experience.
Snyder said she thinks her OSU experiences helped set her apart during her interview.
“I take advantage of the opportunities Ohio State offers,” Snyder said. “A large part of the tours is telling your stories and I have a lot of those between my two study abroad trips, internship, student organizations.”
Being the student authority and face of OSU to perspective students can come with a lot of pressure, but the Ambassadors embrace the challenge.
“I get to share my love for The Ohio State University with prospective students,” said Ambassador Karlee Gibson, a second-year in international studies and French. “I love that I get to be a representative of the place that I could not imagine my life without.”
Each Ambassador is asked to give at least two tours every week, though the number of tours given weekly varies depending on the time of year, Smith said.
In April, and for the rest of the summer, two to three tours are offered each day, with 15 tour sessions offered each week, Smith said. During the winter, tours are only offered two to three times per week.
“Ambassadors get asked all kinds of crazy questions from parents and prospective students. The questions vary in topic from the Mirror Lake Jump to OSU nightlife and everything in between,” Gibson said. “I have been asked some very random ones; for example, a mother asked if Ohio State has a folk dancing club.”
Other Ambassadors have had similar experiences.
“The most interesting question I received was from a parent last fall. One of the mothers asked me if there was a cheese club at Ohio State,” said co-captain of the University Ambassadors program Kris Missall, who graduated Winter Quarter with degrees in economics and Spanish. “She was thoroughly disappointed when I told her there was not yet a cheese club, but that her son could easily start one.”