Questions I Wish People Asked Me on Tours

By Danny DeBare ‘22

Giving a tour can be really fun. When you have a group that isn’t too big–but just big enough to have a wide variety of interests and perspectives– that’s when the best energy and information flow. On the flip side, sometimes my tours resembles an audio guide, a voice in your ears that sort of just talks at you when meandering through a vaguely historical/unknown place of interest. If I can’t find an hour of stuff to say about Pomona, something is off. Even if it’s just my hottest take on the newest TSL (The Student Life, our 5C student newspaper) cover story, anything would be more interesting than my fourth joke about scooters. Here are some questions I recommend you ask your Pomona tour guides (and really any college guide you have). Hopefully, these questions will help you delve beyond the “About Pomona” part of the website and bring your campus to life.

Ask something along the lines of: What does the campus culture feel like? You will be spending a lot of time outside of class engaging with the community; make sure that community embodies a culture that you like.

Sometimes, it’s important to point out the clichés and respectfully ask for more specifics. Ask: What are three adjectives to describe the people on campus that ARE NOT synonyms for passionate. I think your guide will laugh.

Danny giving a tourBelieve it or not, even though tour guides are there to “sell” the school, they have opinions that don’t fully align with every glowing review. Ask your guide: If there’s one thing you could change at Pomona, what would it be? Or better yet, what is one thing that you did not expect/caught you off guard after you came to Pomona?

Lastly, the best question that every tour guide should answer whether someone asks it or not: Why __[insert school here]____? Someone is choosing to spend four years of their life at this institution; that’s a huge investment, and you can bet they have a strong opinion about why they picked where they study. Hint: don’t bother asking this before the end. Chances are, the guide is probably already planning on covering it.

It’s also important to remember that one person’s answers to a set of questions don’t speak for the whole school. Take their specific opinions (and funky anecdotes), knowing they come from one person. Generally, tours shouldn’t be the “be all, end all” of every college inquiry you make; think of them as windows into a student’s life, a window that you should jump though! Try to have a good idea of what you specifically want to learn from each tour and use these tools to hold the school to the standards you create. Make the tour work for you: don’t be afraid to ask hard and specific questions. Don’t let other people tell you what you are looking for. Find what you want and hold Pomona up to the test: you won’t be disappointed.