Taylor Willis: My Experience as a Bronco Student Ambassador

Taylor Willis, a member of Versation's Student Advisory Board, is a Bronco Student Ambassador at Boise State University. She recently shared with us about her decision to become an ambassador, and what her experience as part of this group has meant to her: 

It was two weeks into my freshman year at Boise State, and I was having my weekly FaceTime with the empty-nester parents. After asking a million-and-a-half questions, my mom asked if I was interested in giving tours on campus. Questioning and a little curious, I replied half convinced that I wanted to, and she told me about this opportunity to be a Bronco Ambassador. Having my new profound independence, I decided to take her advice, and I sent in my resume and cover letter. Before I knew it, I got a group interview, and somehow, I was offered the job (it wasn’t a paid position, just community service, but I was still shocked). They hired a little freshman with only two weeks of experience as a Boise State student. And if I’m being completely honest, I knew nothing about the campus or Boise in general because I’m originally from Washington. 

So now, here I was, a little baby college student, training to give tours on campus and wearing the classic khaki and polo outfit. About two months in, it was time to give my first tour. It was during one of the biggest events that Boise State Admissions puts on, called Discover Boise State. I was expected to guide a group of 30 people through campus for two whole hours. This might not seem like too difficult of a task, but let me share that I am a fast walker and talker. Usually, I can do the whole campus in an hour and a half flat. Also, keep in mind that there are 35 other tour groups going around in the same amount of time. It was a lot of pressure for the first tour, and to say that I was nervous is an understatement. I don’t remember much from the tour because of all my nerves, but I do remember one high-school senior, Camille, who was with her aunt. You can ask any tour guide – what makes a tour are the people (usually, funny dads are the best). Camille was energetic, excited, and down to earth. She was from Washington as well, and I honestly just talked to her the majority of the time. When it was the end of the day, they thanked me, I waved goodbye, and I went on with the rest of the event (aka: eating free food). 

As the year went on, my love for giving tours grew. I, then, applied to be a Resident Assistant (RA) with the housing department on campus, and I got the job. I received my assignment around July 1st and, shortly after, got a Facebook message from my future roommate, talking about how excited she was to live together. I dropped the sad bomb that I was her RA, and she immediately wrote back, “Do you give tours on campus?” After my sigh of relief that she still wanted to be my friend, we got up to talking, and I realized my new roommate was Camille. She then proceeded to tell me that she picked Boise State because of the awesome tour she went on at Discover. This is the moment when I knew that this job was worth more than the free polo’s and food. Now halfway through my sophomore year, Camille lives in the room right next to me, and she is my rock. Her positivity keeps me going through my busy schedule, and our conversations just seem to flow. I’m grateful for her everyday and so thankful that she decided to sit at my table at Discover. 

Being an Ambassador not only means that you get to brag about the school that you love, which is my favorite part, but it also gives you the opportunity to get to know these prospective students. I went on 10 campus visits across the west coast, and Boise State was actually the last school that I visited. I had already decided on a different school, so my mom had to force me to get out of the car for the tour of Boise State. I stepped out, and I got that cliché feeling that I was home. 

Some people might not think that college tours matter, but I am a firm believer that they do. I love spending time on my tours trying to get to know every person. People come on tours to see the campus, but subconsciously, they want to feel the atmosphere of the campus and the attitude of the people they are going to be spending four years with (maybe, five – I won’t judge you). No one cares about what year the Student Union Building was built, but they do care about the community, the people, and the opportunities that this place is going to offer them. I fill my tours with awful jokes, personal stories, and amazing restaurant recommendations for when they are bored in their hotel rooms during the afternoon. This makes the tours less rehearsed and more of a conversation with some family friends. 

I now work in Admissions as a Student Recruitment Specialist (a fancy title for a Bronco Ambassador who now gets paid), and on a daily basis, I get to talk with prospective students. Whether its giving an actual tour or answering phone calls and emails, I get to interact with these people who are so excited to come to school here. The amount of pride and positivity in the Admissions office is unreal, and I’m forever grateful that they thought I was a great fit. 

I never thought that I would have ended up where I am, but I’m incredibly happy that I did. I love being an ambassador and all that comes with it. And I’m so appreciative of whoever decided to take a chance on little, freshman Taylor and give me this job.

It has been so worth it, and it’s crazy to think that none of this would have happened if it weren’t for that person. I can’t think of a better way to end this other than to say thank you, and of course – Go Broncos!