I want to thank Emily Paret for her wise observations about treating our prospective students well while they’re visiting the campus.

For one thing, your tour guide classmates deserve support. They are a hard-working bunch, doing a job, rain or shine, which isn’t always easy. Try backing up a staircase sometime. Now smile and talk a mile a minute while you’re doing it.

Most important, they’re for real. We’ve spent hours together training, talking and listening. They’ve challenged my staff, and each other, with the toughest questions – food, parking, security, how the tuition gets spent – you name it. They’re the only students on campus who have to know who Henry Alvah Strong was, and this year they had to learn to sing “The Genesee.”

At the end of those hours, I can tell you that they’re among the finest tour guides anywhere. They don’t trick anyone into coming here. They don’t minimize the challenges pre-frosh students would confront here, nor insult other colleges. Instead, they tell a piece of the Rochester story – including their own story – and try to make sure each family visiting has a chance to form an informed opinion.

I’m proud that they can do their job and still tell it like it is. Obviously they’d rather do it with a minimum of dumb comments from passers-by.

But in any case, most CT readers are not dumb, and deserve thanks. The vast majority of UR students, staff and faculty have been friendly to the pre-frosh and generous with their time. At the end of a day, visiting students and parents come to tell me they met great non-tour-guide students, who pointed them in the right direction, and could say why they were enjoying Rochester.

We had a record number of students this year volunteer their rooms for overnight guests – more than we could use, which was unheard-of where I worked before.

Dozens of students performed for us, and hundreds of other students and faculty accommodated interruptions in their classes.

Emily’s right – we can always be better at welcoming admissions guests, and in the long run that’s better for all of us. But you’re mostly great already, so the Admissions and Financial Aid staff – and I – thank you.

-Jonathan BurdickDean of Admissions and Financial Aid

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