‘The College Tour’ episode features Miami


Miami student Julian Johnson being interviewed by The College Tour production crew. Photo provided by Miami University

Miami student Julian Johnson is interviewed by “The College Tour” production crew.

By Skyler Perry

“The College Tour” series on Amazon Prime aims to tell the story of life on college campuses across the world. On Feb. 8, an episode featuring Miami University was released for public viewing on Amazon prime, creating an outburst of pride and excitement for those involved and an uptick in new applications from prospective students.

Hosted by Alex Boylan, “The College Tour” (TCT) is on its third season and has profiled more than 30 colleges and universities. Each episode highlights topics such as academics, location, career prep, and sports. Miami’s episode was viewable on TCT’s website Sept. 29. 

Miami’s episode features testimonials captured across many iconic campus locations including Upham Arch, Farmer School of Business, and Armstrong Student Center. Miami paid approximately $75,000 in production costs for the episode, said Jessica Rivinius, Miami’s director of news and communications.

Jaime Hunt, vice president and chief marketing and communications officer of the university, said the university was approached about being featured in December of 2020 and was immediately interested in the opportunity.

“It was really exciting when they described how they would be working with us on the show and the way that it would showcase our students and their stories,” Hunt said.

Miami student Alex Cox workers on an architecture project as The College Tour crew films him. Photo provided by Miami University 

While the typical application deadline to attend Miami is Feb. 1, Assistant Vice President and Director of Admissions Bethany Perkins said the deadline was pushed back to Feb. 15 because of TCT episode. As a result, Perkins said the university received approximately 400 more applications, most of which were from out-of-state students.

“I loved that there were students who received that email or that text or saw [TCT] on Amazon Prime who maybe would not have been as familiar with Miami’s story and said, ‘OK, well now I’ll apply,’” Perkins said.

After agreeing to be part of the series, a team of Miami faculty including communications, admission, and marketing professionals, worked to identify potential segment subjects and recruit students to talk on camera. Hunt said that approximately 30 students applied, one of which was sophomore economics and entrepreneurship major, Emil Barr. 

Barr received an email recruiting people for TCT and decided to apply under the category of entrepreneurship. When he came to college, Barr founded a social media marketing business called Step Up Social, so he felt he’d be able to speak to the category well. Barr said he felt that Miami has a very strong entrepreneurship program, and that the university has done a lot to help him with his business. 

“I don’t think that this would have been nearly as successful or realistic to happen at any other university,” Barr said. “If there is a place to start a business at school, [Miami is] definitely one of the best schools I think to do that.”

Now that the episode is publicly available, Barr said he hopes it helps people realize the possibilities that come with committing to something at Miami. 

“One of the big lessons I like people to see is that, if you really throw yourself into something at Miami, you can be really successful here at it and Miami does give you the tools to do that,” Barr said. 

Senior biochemistry major and pre-med co-major, Lydia Yamashiro, is also featured in TCT. Yamashiro said that she happened to be working at Miami’s Cliff Alexander Office for Sorority and Fraternity Life over the summer that TCT planned on filming, so she applied and shared her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion. 

After learning that she was selected, she began finalizing her script with the producers of the series to become more comfortable and confident in her delivery.

 “That was awesome because it encouraged me to show my personality and to own my story and to tell it, so it was really cool,” Yamashiro said.

Yamashiro said that before coming to college, she didn’t know what she wanted her campus life to look like or how she was going to make an impact, but she has found her way at Miami through its many opportunities. She felt that this message was important to share with TCT because it could potentially encourage other students to take a leap of faith in their college journeys.

“I love Miami and I’ve had an amazing experience here, so I think it’s important to [represent] Miami,” Yamashiro said. “There’s so much good and so much opportunity at this institution.”

Overall, Yamashiro said that she had a very comfortable experience filming TCT and thought the final episode was well produced. 

“All of the stories are seamless, and I think it’s an awesome piece to showcase Miami so I’m really proud to be a part of it,” Yamashiro said

Admissions director Perkins was also part of TCT production team. She said she believes the final product of TCT will be useful to show students across Ohio and the country, especially for students who can’t get to Oxford to get a feel for the campus. 

“The college episode humanizes the Miami University experience in a way that cuts through whatever we think we know about an institution,” Perkins said. 

Since the release of TCT Miami has created a page on its website dedicated to TCT with the hopes of recruiting future classes and sharing it with the current incoming class. According to Hunt, the communications office has also been sharing TCT with alumni, current students, faculty and staff through emails, social media posts and newsletters. Overall, Hunt said that the university is very pleased with the end product. 

“It turned out great; I was so proud of the students on how well they were able to speak about the different areas that they were highlighting in their episodes,” Hunt said

Anyone interested in seeing the Miami segment TCT can visit Amazon Prime’s website for the full series where it can be viewed for free with commercials. Interested parties can also watch Miami’s episode on the  TCT website