With a 17.7 percent acceptance rate, the application process to become a Blue & Gray tour guide this year was only slightly less competitive than getting into Georgetown itself.
The process, which involved both an application and an interview, began early on the morning of Sept. 11, when dozens of students lined up outside the Office of Undergraduate admissions to submit their applications. The organization only guaranteed interviews to the first 100 applicants, so tour guide hopefuls arrived early to stake out a spot in the line.
“I got [to White Gravenor] at 7:30 a.m.” said Ian Lundy (MSB ’15), a newly inducted tour guide. “Everyone at Georgetown loves our school and is passionate and would show up at a regular time, but waking up early and being there is a small way to help them see I am willing to go to the next level.”
Sapir Yarden (SFS ’15), a current Blue & Gray tour guide, commented on her experience applying last year.
“One of my friends was the first person there. He arrived at 6 a.m., and he got [an interview], obviously. I showed up at 7:45 a.m. … and there was already a line out the door,” she said.
This enthusiasm translated into an extremely competitive admissions process for the program. The number of new positions available was limited by the number of Blue & Gray veterans who signed up as mentors to train new tour guides for their first semester in the program. This year, the organization received 33 mentor applications and was consequently able to accept 32 of its 180 applicants.
Although there were only 100 interview spots guaranteed for new tour guides, the Blue & Gray board members read all of the applications, according to president Meg Luther (COL ’13). The board then extended interview offers to exceptional candidates from a waitlist made up of those who were not among the first 100 students to turn in an application.
“I think it’s great,” said Sheila Walsh (COL ’14), a current Blue & Gray guide. “I think it speaks to how competitive the process is and how enthusiastic the applicants are.” Students who weren’t accepted to the program also remarked on the organization’s selectivity.
“I tried not to think about it too much when I didn’t get picked because I realized that there were so many people that applied,” said Caroline Vetrano (MSB ’13), who applied for a position this year but was not accepted. “I just figured that, when push came to shove, I didn’t get picked. It was what it was.”
Though the opportunity to give tours of campus is the main draw for applicants, the organization is also working on building a sense of community among its members.
“We know we do a great job in giving tours, but we really want to have our community,” Walsh said. “I think they’re prioritizing really building and strengthening the culture between the guides.”
According to Luther, the fact that Blue & Gray tour guides are not paid fosters a special kind of enthusiasm for the job.
“At other universities, being a tour guide is a part-time job,” she wrote in an email. “At Georgetown, it’s much more than that. It’s a chance for current students to get to share with prospectives all of the amazing parts of life on the Hilltop.”
For many in Blue & Gray, guiding prospective students is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.
“In a way, I feel like I’m helping them to make a decision that’s informed, whether or not they decide to apply to Georgetown,” Walsh said.