Publication Date: 11/8/2012
Caroline Ponseti ′15
Want to get to really know if a college is right for you? Take a campus tour. Campus tours at Rhodes have always been—and continue to be—an eye-opening experience, thoughtfully guided by members of the Rhodes College Diplomats. This year, campus tours underwent a reworking to ensure that visitors get a chance to see Rhodes’ two, newest facilities—the renovated Catherine Burrow Refectory and newly built West Village Residence Hall. These changes, however, have not impacted the main feature of a Rhodes tour: the individual attention prospective students and their families receive while on campus.
“Rhodes is a school where you get significant attention from professors,” says Robbie Cook, a senior on the Diplomats steering committee. “That attention should start and does start when you tour the school.”
Outfitted in their signature red and white striped rugby shirts, the Diplomats give personalized campus tours, keeping to no more than three families per tour guide so the focus remains on the prospective students. “We want to know about the students and personalize our tour so that the prospective student gets an idea of who he or she can be at Rhodes,” Robbie says.
Recent renovation of the Catherine Burrow Refectory, fondly called “the Rat” by fellow students, as well as construction of the West Village Residence Hall, inspired Diplomat coordinators Dan Schrader and Megan Starling to rework the tour format to show off the new additions to the campus. “We used to point out the Refectory, tell an anecdote, and walk past it,” says Robbie. “Now that the Refectory is beautiful and amazing, we want to show prospective families how much we care about our students.”
Prior to the new renovations, campus tours lasted 50 minutes. “For people like me who like to talk, sometimes they rolled over,” says Robbie. Including time for the information session, the new tour takes two hours. The new tour, which is split between two tour guides, allows the diplomats more time to share their experiences. The first half of the tour takes the prospective student through the Palmer Hall cloister, the Language Learning Center, classrooms in Palmer Hall, past President Troutt’s office, through the academic quad, around the library, and finally to the Refectory, highlighting the academic aspects of campus life. The prospective student will then get to tour the newly renovated Refectory and learn about the student initiatives that influenced its design.
From there, the prospective student and parents will have an information session with an Admissions Counselor in the new Fireside Lounge of the Refectory, where they will also get the opportunity to speak with a professor. At this point, a new Diplomat will greet the prospective student and begin the second half of the tour, which focuses on student life at Rhodes. A Diplomat will show campus visitors the new West Village common room, the athletic facilities of the Bryan Campus Life Center, the Lynx Lair, a freshman residence hall, and then head back to Burrow Hall, where the tour began.
Prospective students have responded positively to the new tour format, which breaks up positively what is usually a very long tour. “We really wanted to include the Refectory and West Village on the tour because they have radically changed campus culture.” To arrange for a taste of that campus culture, make plans today to visit Rhodes.