Tour Guild adjusts events, creates virtual resources during COVID-19 pandemic


Courtesy of SJS Mavericks

Since St. John’s is currently not allowing any outside students on campus, all tours, admission events and interviews are conducted online.

Abigail Hindman and Emma Chang

Before committing to St. John’s as a freshman, senior Scott Koh was able to immerse himself in SJS culture on campus through tours, shadow days and open houses. With the ongoing pandemic, he sympathizes with rising freshmen attempting to make a final decision.

Since St. John’s is currently not allowing any outside students on campus, all tours, admission events and interviews are conducted online.

“It is not safe right now to bring members outside of the St. John’s community on campus,” said Koh, a Tour Guild Co-Chair. “Touring campus is a big part of the decision about whether to attend the school, so it’s been pretty hard.”

This year, instead of hosting a formal, in-person open house, Tour Guild created introductory videos and hosted Zoom meetings for prospective students. 

“The open-houses were always my favorite event—I would have the best conversations with parents and students—so I was bummed that we didn’t get to do any of those big admission events this year,” co-chair George Caldwell said.

Although Associate Director of Admissions D’Hania Hunt says that this situation is challenging since prospective students are not able to be on campus while school is in session, Tour Guild has tried to replicate that feeling as close as possible through virtual events.

“It’s difficult to get a true feel for the school when you’re not actually able to be on the ground while school is happening,” Hunt said. “There’s a different vibe that you get—the in-person school experience is something you simply can’t explain in a video.”

Because Tour Guild is not holding any in-person tours, the club’s leaders have focused on recruiting more freshmen and upperclassmen.

“When tours do start back up, we’ll have the resources that we need to provide everyone interested in attending SJS with an opportunity to get a beneficial tour of the school,” Tour Guild co-chair Meeah Bradford said.

On the other hand, co-chair Tasha Savas says that the School’s reputation as one of the most academically-centered institutions in the city will play a substantial role in the student’s final decision.

“I don’t think this situation will make or break any decisions,” Savas said, “because St. John’s has a reputation and there are other factors that go into that decision.”

On Thursday, March 25, newly accepted students will be visiting campus and attending a Mini-Club Fair on the Great Lawn. Although the students are not able to come on campus while School is in session, Tour Guild’s policies have changed to allow applicants a chance to see the campus.

Tour Guild members remain committed to the organization because they appreciate the opportunities that St. John’s provides them.

“Being in Tour Guild is not about being in a leadership position,” Caldwell said. “I’ve been going to St. John’s since I was in kindergarten, so I love the school, and it is my favorite thing to show it off to new students.”