Mascot Alex tries out the sofa tour's selfie stick.

Oh, the beloved comfy couch. A place to read, watch TV, check your social media … and take a college campus tour? At Hamilton, yes, thanks to a new Admission Office initiative called Tours From Your Sofa.

Prospective students and their families can take Hamilton’s campus tour from the comfort of their homes. The live one-on-one tour is hosted via Zoom, with their own student tour guide leading visitors on a personal exploration of campus — walking through classroom buildings, athletics and arts facilities, the dining hall, and more. And, just like an in-person tour, prospective students can ask questions and interact with the guide as they make their way across campus.

This new virtual format provides students who might never have made it to campus with a similar experience to those who can easily make the trip.

“With campus visits difficult to arrange right now due to travel restrictions, we thought this was an ideal way to continue to provide a personalized campus tour experience with an opportunity for prospective students to engage with our student tour guides,” said Monica Inzer, vice president for enrollment management.

Hamilton tour guides — five at a time —  hit campus twice a day with iPhones affixed to selfie sticks, walking along the tour route and answering questions. Tours are personalized, so if a prospective student wants to see more of the athletic facilities, or walk around the Science Center or the Kennedy Center for Theatre and Studio Arts, the guides can accommodate.

admission tour guides - sofa tours 11/20
Admission tour guides prepare to head out and lead personalized “Tours From Your Sofa.”

“Our guides are thrilled to be able to show off their campus. I know they miss being able to give traditional tours, but this allows them to continue to engage with students,” said Alexa Ray, assistant dean of admission, who works closely with the student tour guides.

Tour guides enjoy the sofa tours because it gives them the opportunity to connect with families. “With this program, we’re able to navigate COVID restrictions while giving prospective students the personalized Hamilton experience that we valued as applicants,” said Eliza Jones ’22. “This new virtual format provides students who might never have made it to campus with a similar experience to those who can easily make the trip.”

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Jones said she’s been impressed by how easily tour guides have transitioned to this new method. “Of course, there has been somewhat of a learning curve, but we seem to be making the most out of this unexpected opportunity.” And, more importantly, “prospective students seem just as, if not more, willing to ask questions. Giving people the option to tour the college from their own home has created a sense of comfort for many,” Jones said. 

Nyaari Kothiya ’23 is delighted to be leading tours again. “I missed how much I loved giving tours and even though we’re doing it virtually, it still feels the same because I’m still having all these amazing conversations with people.”

Hamilton’s sofa tours are held weekdays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (EST) through Nov. 20, and at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Nov. 14.

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