The Types of People On College Tours

By Joseph Regan and Margaret Jones | 2/11/16 1:14pm

We’ve all been there: You’re considering applying early decision to Dartmouth and your parents drag you to Hanover one (very) cold weekend for a tour of campus. You finish the info session and make your way outside for the tour. Your potential tour guides announce their graduation years and majors, and say something they think is funny (it probably isn’t that funny). You choose the government major minoring in art history because she’s smart and serious, but also looks like if she was locked in a room with fun, she’d find it, eventually.

The squad has now gotten in #formation. You brace yourself for the "joke” about walking backwards. And then, you turn to scope out your potential future classmates and see…

The Eager Beaver

the professional

Clipboard in hand, this kid took more notes during the info session than you took all of first semester senior year. He’s wearing a sweater vest and button-down, looking as crisp as his 4.0 GPA. He doesn’t ask any questions or really show any interest. After all, he has to pace himself—Dartmouth is only school number three. Tomorrow’s four, five and six. He smirks at the sound of the words “academic rigor.” You hate that smirk.

The Helicopter Mom

the mom

There she is looming over her kid. She asks a boatload of questions, and throws serious shade at the frat brother yelling, “Come to Dartmouth” when the tour passes his house. Oh, and speaking of fraternities and sororities, she’s going to ask about them a lot. The seemingly innocuous question about campus social life quickly becomes a passive-aggressive battle between the tour guide and Helicopter Mom’s needs to protect her superstar son. Expect her to get huffy because “all of our campus-organized activities” just aren’t going to cut it as alternatives to the Greek scene.

The Recruit

the recruit

You noticed him first when you bumped into him, second when you fell to the ground and third when you looked up to make sure he’s not actually a brick wall. If he stays for the whole tour, it’ll be a miracle. This dude does more work for his team than you’ll probably do all of college. You turn and inspect the carefully crafted, nonchalant slouch he’s maintaining in the back of the group. The slouch varies depending on the Division of the college he is touring: D3 college means the “whatever man” slouch, D2 means the “I’m kind a big deal” slouch and D1, well, D1… he’s not on the tour.

The Legacy

the legacy

She’s got the cap and the sweatshirt (even though it’s pushing 90 degrees outside), and she’s already corrected the tour guide about the best place to eat in town. You can’t decide if she’s actually cool or just unbearably pretentious. Either way, the fact that she’s posing for the millionth time in front of that statue/library/quad for a selfie is mildly annoying.

Glory Days Dad

glory days dad

There are two kinds of Glory Days Dads: the dad wearing the rumpled flannel with a college shirt underneath, and the “I donate to the College” dad rocking the obnoxiously expensive suit and Rolex. The former is radiating pain and boredom and cannot wait for this tour to be over; the latter only peers out from beneath his sunglasses to check his phone and reschedule his client meetings. Whichever kind he is, though, you call him Glory Days Dad for a reason—the tour guide is praying he won’t launch into one of his stories. You know, the ones about him and Jimbo tearing up the football field and his frat streaking through the president’s office and making the school masc—shh—better not tell. You just hope his kid isn’t as big a tool as his father.

All graphics courtesy of Margaret Jones for The Dartmouth.

Joseph Regan and Margaret Jones