For specific dates, refer to the Important Dates page, but here’s the general process you can expect:

  • Eligibility:
    • You must be able to give at least 3 semesters to the Guide Service.
      • One of these semesters will be as a probationary member, or “probie”, during which you will be trained to become a guide.
      • After completing your probie semester, you become a guide and will then spend at least 2 semesters giving tours!
      • Unfortunately, this means that students in their final year cannot try-out.
    • We value each person who tries out, regardless of whether you’re a first-semester First Year or a second-semester Third Year, because each person brings his or her own perspective. We encourage all eligible students who love UVA to try out!
    • One last note: The training class for probationary members has traditionally been held on Thursday nights from 7-10PM for many years. We make every effort to address scheduling conflicts (we can usually rearrange discussion sections, and missing for an exam is understandable), but regular meetings or rehearsals during that time might prevent your being able to join this semester.
    • If you have questions about your eligibility or time conflicts, email our Probie Chair.
  • The Process
    1. Attend an Information Session to get information about the try-out process and tips for crafting a great trial tour.
      • There will be a panel of current guides there to answer any questions you may have about try-outs or about being a guide.
      • You will pick up your Trial Tour Information sheets here. (If you are unable to attend, please download and print a copy from here.)
    2. You must give a 15 minute historical “trial tour” of the Lawn, which you will give to two current guides (who will act as your “tourists”).
      • The trial tour is designed to see how well you can craft a meaningful tour from a given list of dates and facts, as well as to get a sense of your public speaking abilities.
      • Check the Important Dates section to find out when to sign up to give one.
    3. Prepare for your trial tour.
      • Our best piece of advice for the entire try-out process has always been to go and observe one or more actual historical tours. These happen every day at 10am, 11am, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm, and leave from the basement of the Rotunda.
      • Also, make sure you know the information on the Fact Sheet well. You should pick and choose facts from the sheet to incorporate on your tour in a meaningful way. You should not just recite the fact sheet.
      • You are also welcome to (and encouraged to!) include outside information you discover on your own.
      • For ideas on how to make your facts work together, go on an historical tour!
      • You should be able to answer follow up questions from your “tourists” if you touch on a particular topic (e.g. The Rotunda Fire) and further information about that topic is available on the historical fact sheet. But if you do not know the answer to a question, be honest! A simple “I am not sure, but I would be happy to look that up for you after the tour,” would suffice. Every guide has had a question which has stumped them on an actual tour. This doesn’t give you a free pass to forget who founded the University, though, so be prepared!
    4. Give your trial tour.
      • Check the door of Pavilion VIII to see which Lawn room you should go to so that you can meet your trial tourists.
      • Please be a little early so that the whole process stays on schedule!
      • Your trial tour should be a 15 minute historical tour of the Lawn.
      • Make sure to give your trial tourists the Trial Tour Questionnaire, which you must fill out before your Trial Tour. Copies are available on our Fact Sheets section, and at information sessions.
      • Check the Fact Sheets section for a rubric of how your trial tour will be evaluated.
    5. At the end of your trial tour, your “tourists” will tell you when the list of those selected for The Interview process will be posted.
      • The interview is a chance for a panel of current guides to really get a sense of who you are and what would make you an excellent tour guide and member of the UGS family.
  • If for any reason you need to cancel and/or reschedule your trial tour, PLEASE call the Guide Office at (434)-924-3239 so that there are not two guides waiting for you. Email an Recruitment Co-Chair to reschedule.
  • Non-Discrimination Clause: The University Guide Service does not discriminate or select its members based on age, citizenship, color, disability, gender, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status.