“I feel like there are so many people at Yale that would be qualified as FOOT leaders,” FOOT Student Coordinator Rachel Berger ’03 said. “It makes the process very hard. It’s not necessarily about the individual. I think it’s really important to have a group that complements each other well, with diverse interests.”
The FOOT leader application process starts with a written application and then an interview. The first reading of the written applications by the core committee is anonymous, said Berger.
The tour guide process also starts with a written application. Those who make it to the second round have two one-on-one interviews with current tour guides. The next level is an audition tour.
“[The applicants] are asked to memorize the tours, so you can actually give the tour to actual people,” said Melissa Blakeley ’03, head of tour guides for the Visitor Information Center.
The process of selecting tour guides is a difficult one, Blakeley said.
“It’s hard with students judging students,” she added. “Tour guides are not allowed to interview anyone they know and the same thing with the audition tours.”
Blakeley also said that she looks for tour guides who will be able to communicate with the broad range of people who take tours at Yale.
“Charisma is a big thing,” she said. “It’s hard to find a tour guide that attracts every kind of prospective student at Yale. [I look for] people who are going to be able to communicate with lots of kinds of people and for people who really know Yale.”
Brad Rosen ’04 applied to be a tour guide last year and said he thought he would do a great job.
“I am a very charismatic person,” he said. “I like to talk and to make other people laugh.”
Rosen said he thought that the cuts based solely on the written application were not representative of the work he put into his application.
“I really feel like they shouldn’t have made the cuts the way they did,” Rosen said. “I went to a writing tutor for my essay because I really wanted to be a tour guide — It makes no sense that you can judge something like being a tour guide on a written application.”
He also said he thought the process was not perfect, but nevertheless he will apply again this year.
“What is frustrating is that the audition process is cryptic, and I feel like there is a gatekeeper and that is the current year’s tour guides,” Rosen said. “I felt that, as a person, they treated me fairly, but there were just too many people.”
Carla Pinto ’03 applied to be a tour guide and said she was not satisfied with the process.
“This was not very fair,” Pinto said. “I don’t think they valued what you could do as a tour guide as much as what they thought of you as a person — I am pretty skeptical about the process.”
Margo Harrison ’04 applied to be a FOOT leader last year and said she enjoyed the application process although she was not accepted.
“You get used to rejection at Yale,” Harrison said. “I mean, everybody is so good at everything.”
Harrison did say, however, that she thought the process was fair.
“I don’t think that they are only choosing their friends because they have a really diverse group of people doing it,” she said. “I think it does help to know the FOOT leaders just because then they know more about you than just the application.”
One current FOOT leader, Tony Mendoza ’03, said he feels the important qualities for FOOT leaders are competence, responsibility and a fun personality.
“We’re not allowed to interview our friends,” Mendoza said. “They do a good job of making sure the people who know the person really well are not making serious decisions.”
Wesley Mittman ’03, who is both a FOOT leader and the head of tour guides for admissions, said that although the tour guide applications are not reviewed anonymously, it is an equitable process.
“I think it’s just as fair because most of the applicants are freshmen and most tour guides are juniors and seniors who don’t have that much interaction with the freshmen trying out — meaning that they did not know them beforehand,” Mittman said.
She also said she thinks the time commitment of the application process to be a tour guide is well worth it.
“It’s just such a satisfying and rewarding job that many people would do it even if they did not get paid,” Mittman said. “With the tour guide process it’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding because at the end, if you make it you get to be a tour guide.”