Student Guides – training your asset

If you want to charm your prospective parents and leave them with an impression they won’t forget, make sure you have yourself a pool of student guides who are confident and articulate to greet, speak to or even take families on school tours.

In the article “best format for an open day”, we established the important role students play in helping to win over a parent in the admissions process. When you have great student guides, not only will they impress prospective parents, they can instil a positive sense of confidence and belief in the school.

So how do we ensure our student guides create a good impression on the families that we want to enrol? Whilst you can select the best students and hope that they will perform, preparation is key and it is worth spending some time with them to set specific expectations and standards.

How much preparation
No less than three sessions of approximately one hour each would be just fine to cover the essentials. (Host it over the lunch break and provide pizzas, perhaps!?)

What areas to cover
Even if you think it’s simple and common sense, don’t think your student guides will know how you expect them to behave and what (not) to say. Below are our top three most essential areas to cover with your student guides:

No.1: the greeting: First impression lasts forever so giving your guides some tips on how to give a fabulous greeting will go a long way! Remind them to focus on eye contact, the handshake and smile. (As adults, we are all too familiar with this but our younger students might not so spend time on this and have some fun doing some role plays with them!)

No.2: the conversation: Prepare your students on what to talk about with the prospective families. Whilst their honesty will be one of the drawcards, you might not want the guides to go tell your prospective parents about their dislike for school lunches, for example. Jot down the areas that you want them to mention (such as the size and diversity of the school; the rich afterschool clubs; the school’s sports teams; the wonderful music programme; etc… you get the picture!) and spend time going through this with the student guides. Another role play activity of some sort will also go down well.

No.3: the tour route: Last but not least on our list of things to cover with your student guides is the precise route for the tour. You don’t want to make your guests dizzy with a spaghetti-like trip around the building including all it’s unsightly corners! You only want to show them the most important and impressive spots within the school. List what these places are and design a sensible and shortest route round, avoiding the quieter and darker areas (if you happen to have them at your school that is!). Take your student guides on a practice run of the route.

With just a little investment of time, and maybe some pizzas, you will have confident and articulate students guides who will leave your customers well and truly humbled. These parents might have even chosen your school because they aspire for their children to be like one of your student guides!

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