Washi Tape: Not Just for Taping

Aesthetics matter. Every time we're on a campus, we take loads of photos for our clients of positive, negative, and missed cues, many of which are rooted in the aesthetics of campus.

We often think that investing in aethetics of building interiors is going to be expensive. Installing art, painting, designing and installing large graphics, wrapped windows... it's can be a daunting task (but well worth the effort).

But during our travels, we've started to see college students take aesethics into their own hands. Without big resources to make interiors more fun and festive, they are turning to a cheap option to spruce things up - washi tape.

Check out some of the examples from our travels. Can you invest in washi tape and let your students take it from there?

Ambassador Conversation Training

We love our ambassadors, but let's admit it: sometimes they struggle making basic conversation with families. After "Where are you from?" and "What are you interested in studying?", they don't know what else to say.

At the annual conference for the Collegiate Information and Visitor Services Association this summer, our colleague Ashley McDermott (Louisiana State University) showed us "Chat Pack" which she uses when training ambassadors to be better conversationalists.


In the spirit of ambassador conversation training, here are some additional games, cards, and resources other Render clients are using. (No sponsored content here; just happy to share.)

Table Topics

Big Talk

Rory's Story Cubes

Conversation Cubes

Do you have something that works well for you? Hit us up on social media or via email to share!

3 Things for Your Back-to-School Checklist

It's that time of year when we say "It's that time of year!" A phrase typically accompanied with "Where did the summer go?!" and "August already?!" We know you're busy preparing for students to return to campus and making preparations for a new crop of visitors to hit your campus this fall. 

3 quick things you want to ensure are on your Campus Visit Back-to-School checklist: 

1. Open dates for the Fall 2018 semester and plans to open Spring 2019 dates soon. 
Many families are booking campus visits while their availability is being challenged by upcoming holidays, family obligations, sports/plays/student activities commitments, senior activities and dances, SAT/ACT dates, and more. Your calendar should be up and ready for them to see you this fall. 

2. A homepage that prominently features a link directly to the visit.
Please don't make us hunt for the campus visit and your registration (or navigate through pages of paragraphs trying to woo us to visit). Get visitors as quickly to a calendar and details as possible. Take a cue from our clients Lynn University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, and Seattle University.  

3. Solid Ambassador Training.
New ambassadors, veterans, students who don't remember anything after the long summer; you have them all back, and now what to do with them? Trainings, retreats and workshops will look different based on your resources and ambassador group, but if there is one thing that should be included, it's this - walk. the. route. together. What works at each stop, what doesn't, where do families get bored, what are the best stories to tell? Share with each other in real time. 

And if you're in or near Boston, Philadelphia, or New York, consider joining us for {More} Steps To Being Memorable. It's our signature ambassador workshop with a little extra somethin' somethin'. 

Not in those areas? Hit us up to learn about you can bring us to campus to be a part of your ambassador training. 

Happy August to all! 

Latest Attention Getters: Balloons?

While visiting Saint Joseph's University (PA), we were touring the dining hall when...bump...we hit a balloon. Tied to the end was the note below from one of their sororities advertising an upcoming philanthropy event.

Need to advertise when ambassador applications open? Or need volunteers for an upcoming open house?

Have you ever considered...balloons?

Look at them all! How can college students avoid grabbing a balloon and looking at the note on the bottom? Brilliant!

Look at them all! How can college students avoid grabbing a balloon and looking at the note on the bottom? Brilliant!

The note was attached to the bottom of the string.

The note was attached to the bottom of the string.

Save the (Training/Event) Date

Every great campus visit person understands that, even though you're in the thick of day-to-day logistics and operations, you always have to work six months in advance. Visitors want your calendars open online, which means scheduling tour guides, asking faculty and staff for help, and blocking off major event and university dates months in advance.

One of the biggest conundrums facing campus visit folks is the all-important task of informing tour guides about upcoming major event dates and training retreats. How many times have you heard "Well, I can't do that date because I already have this thing...?" To get tour guides when you need them, you must be first to get on their calendar.

Campus Visit Rock Star and our colleague at Lander University, Amanda Platt (Associate Director of Admission), took a tip from modern life and current culture. When our friends and family need us at important life events, do they give us a couple weeks notice? Of course not. We get... save. the. dates!

Amanda creates a series of magnets to help ensure Lander Ambassadors are where they need to be (and most importantly, when Amanda needs them most). Magnets are inexpensive, fun, stand out among the paper/flyers/postcards college students typically receive from organizations, and can be designed quickly and easily.

What are you doing to get on calendars 6 months out?

Hello Lander Ambassadors! 

Hello Lander Ambassadors! 


Client Brag: Birmingham-Southern College

Recently, at the start of their spring break, we passed through Birmingham-Southern College's campus.

At the gate of campus, their awesome Campus Police officers (or "CamPo" as they are known at BSC) set up an "auto check" station for students who were beginning drives to their spring break destinations. Students could get their air tire pressure, fluids, and more checked by the very helpful officers.

In a world where parents are looking for institutions that keep students in mind and staff will have their children's backs, this is a hit! Kudos to BSC for making this happen!


"Hi, My Name Is..."

We've said it before: tour guides are the most important people in this process. They have a lot of responsbility in guiding our guests, answering their questions, and being genuine, authentic representatives of their schools.

We love this video from our client, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, because it shows a well-trained ambassador doing one thing really, really well - flipping the question of "Why did I choose UAB?" to "What keeps me coming back to UAB?"

Keep telling stories, Jared! Special shoutout to Tyler Peterson, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Assistance at UAB, for sharing with us.

Got a cool photo, video or story of good things happening on your campus? Let us brag on you by sending it our way!

Client Case Study: Illinois College & Slack

If there's one area where Guest Experience Coordinator Tracy Garde at Illinois College (Jacksonville, IL) allows the tour guides to slack, it's their usage of Slack! Tracy implemented Slack with their tour guides this year and has had a lot of success in improving communication with the whole group.

Tracy mainly uses Slack for general communication, events announcements, and Illinois College trivia (which seems to be the favorite channel among the True Blue Ambassadors)! She tends to use the personal messaging feature quite a bit because, as she told us, " seems to grab the ambassadors attention more easily. During events, everyone knows to keep an eye on their phones (totally opposite of what I used to ask them to do!) for last minute changes and THAT has worked amazingly well."

Slack wasn't always the communication mode of choice for the Ambassadors. They used GroupMe and Facebook for a while and hit quite a few roadblocks. Everyone's phone would be blowing up all day since there's only one "channel" with all announcements and commentary on both platforms. With Slack, Tracy says "We have the Trivia convo feed and, if someone doesn't want to play for instance, because they don't want the interruption while studying, they can exit out of that feed. Slack is easier to manage members than GM was, and we've not had any issues with it going off line as we sometimes did with GM."

Brilliant! Check out some screenshots below of how Tracy's True Blue Ambassdors are using Slack. And get in touch with Tracy if you have questions about how she implemented and got student buy-in to use something new and different to communicate.

Way to go, IC!