FAQs: Prospective tour guides

Campus ambassadors are some of the most influential people on campus.  For 150,000 guests annually, a student ambassador is the first person on campus they have contact with.

Visitor Services ambassadors showcase and promote UC Berkeley, shaping visitors' first impressions of the university. They personify the excellence and diversity of the campus community.


Being a campus ambassador is a fun, varied, and flexible job.


The 2015 application period has ended.


Visit our prospective campus ambassador page if you are interested in receiving information about future employment opportunities.



What does being an ambassador mean?
Campus ambassadors represent and advocate for UC Berkeley to a wide range of campus guests as they share the history and culture of the campus, as well as their experiences as a Berkeley student. Ambassadors help people get to know and appreciate UC Berkeley.  As prospective students and their families primarily gain knowledge about a university though campus tours, campus ambassadors can play an important role in college decisions.

What kind of work do ambassadors do?
Campus ambassadors lead tours; serve visitors at the Visitor Center and the Campanile; support parent programs; and work at special events such as Cal Day, Homecoming Weekend, and Move-In Weekend; as well as a growing number of other special and interesting assignments.

Tours include walking tours for individuals and families (prospective and newly admitted students, tourists, and alumni, for example) and groups (such as middle and high school students, businesspeople, guests of campus departments, and VIPs. Tours are usually 1-1 1/2 hours long.

At the Visitor Center, campus ambassadors greet visitors, sign them in for tours, provide information, and answer questions.

At the Campanile (Sather Tower), ambassadors staff the ticket desk and assist in elevator operation.

What are the work hours?  How many hours a week do you work?
Ambassadors must be available to work a minimum of 10 hours a week, and normally work 5-7 hours a week.  There are work shifts on Saturdays and Sundays, but most work takes place Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-3:30 pm.  Ambassadors are scheduled to work as their availability permits.

Being an ambassador is a fun and rewarding job, but remember that it provides only a limited number of hours of work a week.

What do you look for when hiring a campus ambassador?
Students who

  • Reflect the diversity of the student population.

  • Are active on campus and in the community.

  • Love to share their enthusiasm for the university.

  • Speak multiple languages (a plus).

Students who are excited about the chance to share their college experience with campus visitors are encouraged to apply.

When do you hire new staff?
Visitor and Parent Services hires once a year. Recruiting and application submissions take place in November-December of the fall semester.  The hiring process is completed by the end of January.

Do I have to work summers and during winter/spring breaks?
New ambassadors are required to work the majority of their first summer (generally mid May-mid August). During winter and spring breaks, we need as many ambassadors on hand as possible, and we welcome and encourage your availability.

Does the job qualify as work-study?
Yes, we welcome and encourage work-study applicants.

Can I apply as a freshman?
Absolutely. For the benefit of our visitors and prospective students, we hire only second-semester freshmen.  Applicants should have customer service experience and be involved in campus activities.

Can I apply as a senior?
We hire very few seniors because training is very time intensive and as graduation approaches, their focus tends to shift toward completing their degree. However, we have hired some awesome seniors.

How does the application process work?
Submit your application by the published deadline. Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in a comprehensive group audition in January followed by individual interviews for those applicants selected from the audition. Hiring and training take place in February. New ambassadors will generally begin to lead tours in March.

What is the audition like?
The audition is a lot of fun. It's an opportunity for you to show us your personality. It's easier to stand out during the audition than it is during the one-on-one interview, which is more structured.

What kind of training do new ambassadors receive?
New ambassadors are trained and mentored by seasoned ambassadors on all aspects of guiding tours, including presentation, customization, campus facts, and customer service. There is a campus ambassador manual with extensive information about the university that ambassadors are required to know. New ambassadors do not lead a tour until they are deemed ready. Training for other ambassador roles is provided on the job.

Do you ever get tired of saying the same thing?
Not if you're good at your job. Tours are interactive. Each tour has different visitors and thus a different atmosphere. So, although you may be offering the same information, it will always be received in a new way. This keeps you at the top of your game. Also, as you gain more experience, you will learn how to match your tour narrative to your visitors and current events.

Do I have to be able to walk backward?
It helps, but you don't have to right away. There will be plenty of time and opportunity to practice walking backward.