On tour

Third-year Marya Spont hates it when people ask whether she has fun at the University. But answering such a question comes with the territory for a summer tour guide. Thursday morning Spont, dressed in a purple halter top and a low-rise, flowered skirt, does her part to put Chicago’s reputation for dreariness—which she considers undeserved—to rest. Five minutes into an hour-long campus walk, she slips off her flip-flops and scores a laugh from the crowd of about ten high schoolers and parents, visiting from as near as St. Louis and as far as New Delhi. Her crash course covers academics, housing, student life, and Hyde Park, stopping at such high-traffic spots as the Reynolds Club, Joseph Regenstein Library, and Max Palevsky Residential Commons. Along the way she recommends Shake Day and warns against stepping on the University Seal.

The Office of College Admissions keeps its daily tours—departing from Harper Library at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. March through November (the afternoon tour is dropped December through February)—small to allow for discussion. Parents do most of the probing—“Can you request a single room?” “Are all the dorms this nice?”—although father Greg Tuleja concedes, “In the end, our opinion is not going to be important.” Indeed, independence awaits.


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July 23, 2004