In-person campus tours to resume for spring semester with social distancing guidelines in place

Tori Duff

The Office of Admissions will resume in-person campus tours starting Feb. 1 on a limited basis, in addition to current virtual options.

Prior to the pandemic, the Office of Admissions offered three tours a day, Monday through Saturday, with group capacities of 100 people, said Alex Mitchell, director of prospective student experience. When in-person tours stopped on March 12 last year, they were replaced with live virtual tours and online information sessions.

Starting in February, tour groups will consist of one guide and nine guests, and in-person tours will take place Monday through Saturday. Currently, tours will only be available to high school seniors who have been admitted to the University and their families, Mitchell said. The tours are exclusively outdoors, and participants will be required to wear masks.

“We're asking for everyone to adhere to the campus safety protocols that are within our Protect Texas Together,” Mitchell said. “For students who are considering the University, if coming to campus will make a difference in that decision, we want to make that available to them.”

Student tour guides can choose to lead virtual tours, in-person tours or both based on their comfort level, Mitchell said. The Admissions Welcome Center will also provide additional training to maintain social distancing during tours. 

“(The guides) are trained to ensure that people social distance within our Admissions Welcome Center when groups are arriving,” Mitchell said. “Because they're wearing masks, they now use a microphone during tours to promote social distancing so somebody doesn't walk closer to hear them.”

Participants check in at the Welcome Center and are assigned designated spaces inside while they wait for their tour, Mitchell said. These spaces are sanitized between groups, and social distance markers are located around the center.

Advertising sophomore Callie Copeland, a student tour guide for the Office of Admissions, said having virtual and in-person options is a great way to allow prospective students to get a feel for campus. 

“It’s important for students to be able to tour because it’s really the only opportunity they get to interact with UT,” Copeland said. “With virtual tours, it’s more difficult for people to connect and ask questions, so I think people are excited they have the opportunity to be in person.”

For incoming seniors who are unable to visit campus or do not feel comfortable attending an in-person tour, virtual information sessions and tours will continue throughout the spring, Mitchell said. Those interested can sign up for a virtual session on the UT Admissions website.

Amelia Kirby, a high school senior and a prospective UT student, said it is important to have the opportunity to tour a campus, and UT’s safety guidelines make it easier to feel comfortable touring.

“Going on a tour helps you to really imagine what life is like at a college, which is so important,” Kirby said. “With a group of only nine people, I would definitely prefer the option of touring in person over virtually.”