Now that the University of Rhode Island’s tour guide application deadline has passed and the interview process has begun, students are left to wonder whether they will be one of the select few hired for the position.

Close to 2,000 visitors were on campus last weekend for the University’s open house. Many departments were represented at the college fair for prospective students and their parents. Leading these large groups were the University of Rhode Island tour guides.

Much more goes into the tour guide application process than the ability to walk backwards while not tripping over obstacles.

This year, 414 students applied to be chosen as one of the 35 new URI tour guides. That means only 8 percent of the pool will be selected for the job. Comparable to orientation leader positions and the resident assistant applicant process, becoming a tour guide is one of the most competitive on campus.

Joe Korzeb, co-coordinator of the Tour Guide Program, could not attribute an “x-factor” that qualifies a student for the position because there isn’t a single ideal tour guide. Instead, the program is looking for students that reflect URI as a campus.

“We want people from different majors, backgrounds, and who have different experiences,” Korzeb said. “We want both introverts and extroverts and a team that can relate to a variety of prospective students.”

This doesn’t mean that any prospective applicants must change their major into the most discreet department on campus to be hired, but rather that students should be proud of all there is to be a URI student.

The students who have been selected as campus tour guides reflect the diversity that URI is proud of. With their homes in a variety of places, and majors ranging from all seven colleges, the tour guides all have individual experiences at the university that make it possible to inspire any potential students.

Many tour guides are also involved in other activities on campus, making it difficult for some to give tours during the week. While informing a group of thirty students and parents about the campus, tour guides are often waved at and shouted words of encouragement from friends walking by. This can be considered a perk and makes being a tour guide that much more unique as it highlights the tour guide in a positive manner to the public. It’s encouraging for touring students to see how popular their guide is on a campus of 14,000-plus undergraduates.

Korzeb noted that a high level of professionalism and maturity with a willingness to be dedicated to the program are some of the biggest commonalities amongst their group. Most notably, tour guides manage to demonstrate their passion for URI. The tour guides provide tours with the necessary amounts of school spirit, which make it hard for potential students to feel disconnected from the university. Even if a visitor does not feel that special connection, there’s a good chance they will when they receive a URI postcard from their tour guide following the visit to campus thanking them for taking the time to visit.