By Lauren Nguyen
Poly Pathfinders lead tours all over the Cal Poly Pomona campus, showing potential students of all ages what the university has to offer.
Poly Pathfinders are current students who assist the Office of Admissions and Outreach in connecting visitors and members of the community to CPP through information, resources and guidance. They provide campus tours for new and seasoned faculty and staff, job candidates, special university guests, prospective students and their families. They can also be seen conducting tours at numerous CPP events.
To be a member of their team, a student must go through an application process, which includes a month-long training followed by a written and performance assessment.
Poly Pathfinders are required to shadow tours given by veteran tour guides and study a 126-page handbook. Poly Pathfinders must know and understand any and all admission process-related requirements, from test scores to GPA requirements.
The position also requires knowledge of the programs within the eight academic colleges and any additional campus service. This ensures that tour guides offer prospective families all the information they need to decide whether or not CPP is the right fit.
Many spectators may think that the Pathfinders oversimplify the student activities on campus, but the Pathfinders’ approach is to get potential students excited and understand what is going on in the classroom.
“There was a group of fourth graders that showed more interest in the animals they saw,” said Justine Budisantoso, head Poly Pathfinder. “It’s always fun to be able to engage them in the tour and share information they find exciting, such as being able to work with the Arabian horses or how Formula SAE builds their car from scratch.”
Although Pathfinders give many of the same tours, each tour brings unique circumstances. The tours happen rain or shine since many visitors travel from other areas in California, other states and overseas to explore the university.
To prepare for tours in harsh weather conditions, tour guides must be aware of how to navigate their guests through areas of coverage, where to spend more time in buildings and how to guarantee that they receive the same great campus experience as if they would on a sunny day.
Poly Pathfinder Christopher Caban described his most bizarre encounter that happened on Halloween.
“I was giving a tour to a high school in the University Quad, and a Cal Poly student dressed in a white morph suit with a giant cardboard Hello Kitty mask walked by,” said Caban. “I completely lost the attention of my group for a good minute or two, and had to bring up a fun fact about our Caiman to regain their attention.”
It seems unanimous that each Pathfinder enjoys giving tours. Poly Pathfinder Jennyfer Jurado finds her job rewarding.
“I like showing people all that our school has to offer and the beauty in it,” said Jurado.
Many people underestimate what CPP has to offer prior to taking a tour, and the Pathfinders open their eyes to the campus’s full potential.
“My favorite thing about being a Poly Pathfinder is getting someone on my tour that arrives with the attitude that CPP is merely their ‘last resort’ and have no interest in the school,” said Caban.
“Then, after going on my tour and hearing everything about the CPP, they decide that they love it and have moved it up on their college list. I have received many emails from students and parents thanking me for changing their minds or their children’s minds about the school, and that is a feeling I never get tired of.”
Michael Torres / The Poly Post
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