Updated: Dec 23, 2019
On the surface, a short, 40 minute manicured walkthrough of a school seems like a pretty stupid way to judge it. However, most kids and families believe that the tour is really where you find out if you “vibe” with the school, and they can have serious implications with the future of your student body. Seasoned tour guides know their way into a family’s heart. They flaunt what their school’s got, and quickly dismiss the downsides. These pros have honed their skills of embellishing their school over their career from putting in work, but here I present to you an easier way. Here are some tips to give a totally true and accurate representation of what your school is definitely like.
1. Lie… a lot
First of all, if your school has Saturday classes, I’m sorry. Secondly, never talk about them, ever. If you really need to, simply tell your family you have Saturday classes “about bi-weekly”. Hey, that one’s not even a lie if you include breaks and summer. How’s the food in the dining hall? Well, I am currently made of purely ramen, instant mac n cheese, and pizza, so in short, it’s great! I’ve found, through my research, the best time to lie on the tour is when you have absolutely no clue what the hell the answer to their dumbass question is. So, simply make it up. For example, they might ask "Is the JV softball team here good?" and so you bullshit your way through it “Yes, very good, we take JV sports very seriously”. See, It’s easy, you don’t actually have to know anything. A year down the road, the kid might come to you, furious that you told him the school had “fun weekends” but by that time, they’re already trapped. You’ve done your job.
2. You are cool.
The cold hard reality at any school, no matter whether it’s private or public, is most people aren’t considered “cool”. Yet, seemingly, when choosing a prep school, they all want to go to a school where everyone seems cool. This is a thin line to walk as a tour guide, as the parents want someone who is a model child, who seems intelligent, hard-working, and very nice. However, a lot of kids want a tour guide they can relate to; so, even if you’re not cool, you gotta act like it. This may involve lying about what sports you play (hockey and lacrosse are popular choices), how much time you spend in your room, what you do on the weekends, saying hi to kids in the hall you almost never interact with, and most of all, coming off as smart, but not smarter than the kid you’re touring. By the end of the tour, you should have the parents think you’re going to Yale, and the kid think you’re NHL bound.
3. Use the word “transformative”
This one is crucial, the word transformative has a special power when bullshitting a conversation with prospective families. On many tours, you will be asked to describe your experience at your school, and I promise, there is nothing as vaguely positive as just saying “it’s been truly transformative”. Parents want their children to go to prep school and become a new and improved version of themselves, so, by saying you’ve transformed you are satisfying their greatest wish. You can add a little more on the end about how you’ve really grown and matured over your time there, but transformative should be enough to get them hooked.
Giving a prep school tour might seem daunting at first, after all, you’re directly impacting the future of your school. Plus, everyone has a story about a shitty tour guide they’ve had, so there’s pressure to perform well. No need to worry though, with our simple tricks, you’ll have parents pulling their pocketbooks out faster than you can say “our school has a close-knit community”.