April 18, 2016

Contact: Jay Thompson

Poly Rep Tour Guides Put a (Smiling) Face on Cal Poly for Prospective Students

SAN LUIS OBISPO — It’s been a busy few weeks for Cal Poly tour guides.

It’s spring break for California schools, and prospective students and their families are touring universities in search of the right mix. For these high school and community college students, it’s one of the biggest decisions of their lives.

And Poly Rep guides are here to help. Many times, the decision to apply to Cal Poly comes down to that tour and an individual tour guide.

These university ambassadors help promote Cal Poly in a number of other ways too. The program aims to support the Admissions Office and the Alumni Relations Office.

“Since March 21st, we have had more than 10,000 prospective students and their families pass through campus,” said Aaron Borgeson, one of the group’s advisors. “These numbers are comparable to last year for this three-week span. A high percentage of these students are newly admitted students.

“This year, we will have more than 30,000 campus visitors go on our general campus tours led by 33 Poly Reps.”

On Tuesday, April 5, three such tours were going on simultaneously in the University Union Plaza.

It’s a challenging assignment to tell Cal Poly’s story in an hour and a half to groups that range in size from 20 to 150 (or about 40 on average) and in age from middle schoolers to grandparents, but these ambassadors are ready.

And they make a difference.

“More than facts and numbers, I try to convey a feeling on my tour,” said Kaele Snapp, an architectural engineering senior from Ohio who’ll graduate in June. “I will tell them so much information in 90 minutes, and I don't expect them to remember every detail. What I want them to remember is how they felt when I told them about all of the amazing things that they could be doing here. I want to create an atmosphere of what it would truly be like to be a student at Cal Poly.”

Alex Meyer, who like Snapp has been a Poly Rep since 2014, agrees.

“I think Maya Angelou said it best with, ‘They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel,’ ” said Meyer, a master’s in industrial engineering student from Sacramento who will also graduate this spring.

“When people come on a tour, I want to take them through an experience,” he said. “I try to remember what it was like being in their shoes and tell stories that they can picture themselves in. Cal Poly is a welcoming place that because of Learn By Doing has provided so many opportunities for me to grow as a person.  I want to relate to the prospective students so they can see that they are going to get a great hands-on experience in the class, opportunities and, most importantly, a home.”

Both say the experience has boosted their confidence and provided other benefits as well.

“As a tour guide, I get to be the first, and perhaps only face, for people visiting Cal Poly,” Snapp said. “It's an incredible honor to be that face and to be able to describe the opportunities that prospective students could have at Cal Poly. I can potentially be someone's deciding factor in choosing Cal Poly. How cool!”

Meyer said the experience has made him “a better leader, follower and friend.”

“It has challenged me and inspired me,” he said. “It has truly changed my college career, and I encourage everyone to check out our website and apply next year because it is an incredible group.

“Above all this though, the feeling you get when someone comes up to you the next year and says, ‘You are the reason I came to Cal Poly’ — there is nothing quite like that feeling!”

For more details on becoming a Poly Rep, visit:

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