Tours: Frequently Asked Questions

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We’ve anticipated many of your questions and tried to answer them. If you are unable to find the answer here, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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Category Question Answer
Planning Your Visit Do I need a parking permit?  Yes, parking permits are required. You can purchase an all-day parking permit for $8 from the University Kiosk on West Campus Drive. Cash/Visa/MasterCard accepted. The attendant will direct you to the nearest parking lot available.
Planning Your Visit Where should I stay? There are many hotels near campus. Some hotels offer a discounted UCR rate if you request it. UCR is not affiliated or responsible for any third-party accommodations you arrange with the hotels listed.
Planning Your Visit Does UCR have an overnight stay program?   No, not at this time.
Planning Your Visit Are there restaurants or places to eat on campus?  Yes! Our Highlander Union Building (the HUB) offers everything from sushi and tacos, to Chinese- and Italian-inspired cuisine. The Barn is another great choice – you can choose from a variety of delicious sandwiches, burgers, salads and soups. We also have a brand-new Subway and a popular Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. For quick snacks, Scotty’s convenience store is open to the public as well.
Planning Your Visit What should I wear?  Wear comfortable walking shoes. Dress for weather and temperature variations. Pants and closed-toe shoes are required for BCOE Lab tours.
Planning Your Visit What is the best day to visit?  With a beautiful campus like ours, any day is the best day!
Planning Your Visit Does UCR have an open house?  Yes. Highlander Day happens every year in the spring, typically on a weekend in April. At Highlander Day, you’ll chat with faculty, hang out with current students, learn about our many academic programs and take a student-led campus tour. 
Planning Your Visit When are you open? The Campus Tours Office is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding all national holidays. We are also open on select Saturdays during special events (Discover Day, Highlander Day, etc.). 
Reserving Your Tour Are reservations required for tours?  Yes, you must make a reservation in advance. This allows our staff to properly prepare for your tour. After making your reservation, you’ll receive a confirmation email with details about your visit. During spring and fall quarters, space is limited – we suggest reserving early.
Reserving Your Tour When are tours available? Campus tours are available every hour on the hour, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday tours are only offered on select days and facilities available for viewing may be limited. Reservations are required for all tours.
Reserving Your Tour How do I change or cancel my tour? You can cancel and schedule a new tour online or call our office at (951) 827-TOUR (8687). DO NOT schedule another tour until you cancel your first tour. Doing so creates a duplicate tour reservation. Thank you for letting us know. Canceling your tour allows us to open up space for other visitors.
Reserving Your Tour I can’t make any of the tour times. How can I see the campus?  You can always take a virtual tour or, if you want to see the campus in-person, you can print out one of our self-guided tour maps and explore UCR on your own. 
Reserving Your Tour Are tours cancelled if it rains? No. Tours happen rain or shine! Please prepare for the weather accordingly. 
Reserving Your Tour Can I get a tour in Spanish/French/Cantonese/etc.?  We do not have an interpreter nor are we able to hire one. If you make a note about your language needs in the special accommodations section of your reservation, we will do our best to accommodate your request. 
Reserving Your Tour Are tours wheelchair accessible?  Yes. Please note in the special accommodations section of your reservation that you are visiting our campus in a wheelchair. Your guide will take your group on a wheelchair-accessible route. 
Reserving Your Tour Is there a fee for the tour?  No! Tours are free. We gladly welcome you to visit our campus and meet with our students, staff and faculty. 
Reserving Your Tour What is an "Individual/Family” tour?  Almost all visitors will fit into this category. This is a tour for families or individuals who are bringing nine or fewer prospective students. A separate tour reservation should be filled out for each prospective student.
Reserving Your Tour Are children allowed on tours?  Yes, children are allowed on tours. However, if a child requires the use of a stroller, please notify our staff ahead of time so we can adjust the tour route accordingly. 
About The Tour What will I learn on the campus tour? The tour route typically follows a student’s walking path to class. It includes stops at a library, the Campus Store, the Highlander Union Building, popular student hangouts and more. Each tour includes a brief history of UC Riverside and information about current academic programs, planned future growth, student life and athletics. Tours are led by current undergraduate students who are extremely knowledgeable about our campus and its programs. Student guides also share their personal UCR experiences, stories and insight.
About The Tour Can we visit a class?  No, unfortunately we cannot allow visitors to visit a class. 
About The Tour Will we see the residence halls on the tour?  If you want to see the residence halls in-person, schedule a separate residence hall tour. We do not show the residence halls on the general campus tour. You can also take a virtual tour of the residence halls right now. 
About The Tour How long is the tour?  Campus tours are between 45-60 minutes long.
About The Tour What happens if I show up to a tour early or late?  If you arrive early, you may be able to join an earlier tour, or you can grab a bite to eat on campus, or just chat with us and let us answer your questions. If you arrive late, we will do our best to add you to our next available tour. 
About The Tour Do you offer special tours for graduate students?  The general campus tour provides comprehensive information perfect for graduate students. Most graduate students also meet with the department to which they are applying, in addition to taking the tour. Contact the appropriate department representatives to coordinate a personal meeting on your tour day. 
About The Tour Can we meet with a counselor or someone from Undergraduate Admissions?  Yes, we offer group information sessions, Monday through Friday, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., during the fall, winter and spring quarters. A noon information session is available during the summer. In addition, you can schedule a one-on-one meeting with an admissions counselor in advance, once you know your visit date and tour time. 
About The Tour How can I meet a professor in a specific department?  We recommend contacting the professor directly via email. Use the links below to find contact information.
Groups What do you consider a “group”?  Any group with 10 or more visitors (schools, community groups, churches, camps, etc.) is considered a group.
Groups When are group tours offered?  Elementary and middle school group tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, on the hour, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. High school and community college group tours are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
Groups When should I make a reservation?  Reservations for groups must be made at least two weeks in advance. We begin accepting reservations about one month prior to each quarter. Make a reservation.
Groups Where should we park our bus?  Buses park for free in Lot 26. California exempt vehicles may park in Lot 1.  When you arrive, one of our tour guides will greet your group for check-in and proceed with your planned schedule. 
Groups Why are some days and times unavailable?  Available group tour slots are determined by staff availability and are listed on our reservation calendar. Any tour slot not listed has already been booked. 
Groups Can we eat on campus or in a Residential Restaurant?  Yes! Groups can enjoy lunch at our Highlander Union Building (the HUB), The Barn, or our Residential Restaurants at A-I or Lothian. No reservations are required at the HUB or Barn, but if you want to eat in A-I or Lothian, you should complete a group meal request form
Employment: Campus Tour Guides What do you look for when hiring a campus tour guide?  Please see our Become A Campus Tour Guide page for details on what we look for when hiring new guides.
Employment: Campus Tour Guides When do you hire new staff?  We hire about once a quarter. Learn more about being a campus tour guide.
Employment: Campus Tour Guides What do tour guides do?  Campus tour guides mainly:
  • Guide 45-60 minute tours for a variety of campus visitors (prospective students, families, department guests, international groups, school groups, etc.)
  • Staff the front desk (greet visitors, sign them in, answer questions, etc.)
  • Assist in Undergraduate Admissions projects and special Saturday events (Discover Day, Homecoming, etc.)
Learn more about being a campus tour guide.
Employment: Campus Tour Guides How many hours a week do you work?  You work a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 19 hours per week. You also work select Saturday events (Discover Day, Homecoming, etc.). 
Employment: Campus Tour Guides Do I have to work winter, spring or summer break?  No, you are not required to work during academic breaks. 
Employment: Campus Tour Guides Does it qualify as Work-Study? 
Yes, we welcome and encourage Work-Study applicants. 
Employment: Campus Tour Guides Can I apply as a freshman?  Yes, freshmen students can apply. For the benefit of our visitors, we only hire freshmen in their second quarter. We recommend that you have customer service experience and involvement in campus activities. 
Employment: Campus Tour Guides Can I apply as a senior?  We hire very few seniors because training is so time intensive and as graduation approaches, the focus tends to (understandably) shift toward degree completion.
Employment: Campus Tour Guides How does the application process work? See the application process.
Employment: Campus Tour Guides What is the audition like?  The audition is a lot of fun. It’s an opportunity for you to show us your personality. It is easier to stand out during the audition than it is during the subsequent one-on-one interview, which is more structured. 
Employment: Campus Tour Guides What kind of training do guides receive?  Newly hired ambassadors are trained and mentored by seasoned guides on all aspects of guiding tours, including tour presentation, customization, campus facts and customer service. We also provide you with a campus tour guide manual featuring extensive UCR information that tour guides are required to know. New guides will not lead a tour until they are deemed ready.
Employment: Campus Tour Guides Do you ever get tired of saying the same thing?  Tours are interactive. Each tour has different visitors and a different atmosphere. While you may be saying the same information, it will always be received in a new way. This keeps you at the top of your game. Also, the information you offer will change to reflect current events. 
Employment: Campus Tour Guides Do I have to be able to walk backwards?  It helps, but you don’t have to right away!