Tour Guides Lead the Way

Most Dickinson College students toured through Dickinson’s campus before their first year, but many have not had the opportunity to experience a tour from the other side, the tour guide side.

Approximately 90 Dickinson College students make up the Liberty Caps, Dickinson College’s tour guides. They handle questions and comments ranging from “What’s a rector?” to “Do you have a boyfriend?” without batting an eye, continuing their hour and 15 minute tour around the Dickinson campus.

Responding to a question regarding the most awkward encounter during a tour, Caitlin O’Mahoney ’15 says, “I was talking about Rector and a dad asked what a rector was…. Another time I was talking about the red Adirondack chairs and a dad came up to me and went, ‘The chairs are maroon.’.”

The most awkward question Grace Tuscano ’17 received was, “So what’s the relationship culture like here….Do you have a boyfriend?” Rather than answer this question Tuscano continued on her tour.

Another time Tuscano toured a group who “literally didn’t talk” says Tuscano. “I would ask them a question and they would murmur. I would ask more questions and they just stared at me.”

No matter the number of awkward situations they may encounter, the Liberty Caps seem to really love their jobs. Alexa Bell’s ’16 favorite memory was “when a first year came up to me this semester and said I was the reason he came to Dickinson. Those will always be the best memories because you know what you do really has an impact on people.”

Tuscano agrees with Bell, “I didn’t realize I would love it so much,” says Tuscano, “I like being a part of the college process for so many families because I know that in general when I toured we toured 30 colleges and the only way I told them apart was our tour so I know it’s such a crucial part.”

Similarly, O’Mahoney loves tour guiding. “It’s really interesting because you get to meet a lot of different people when you give tours,” says O’Mahoney. “It’s cool to talk to all the prospective students. I think that Dickinson does a really good job of trying to promote that interaction with families so that they get the student’s perspective.”

And as enjoying and helpful tour guiding is, it sometimes can be dangerous. During one of Bell’s tours, “a father on my tour got whacked in the head by a frisbee on Morgan field,” she said.

Responsibilities that come with being a tour guide, according to O’Mahoney, are a day long training session, a two hour shift once a week, and availability during open houses. “The hardest part is that the tours have to be an hour and 15 minutes so it could be really hard to time that right going around campus,” says O’Mahoney.

If interested in learning more about the Liberty Caps contact [email protected] Applications are available every fall. The 2014-2015 applications are closed for the school year.