NORMAL – High school students and their families will have a new way to learn about Illinois State University later this year through an episode of “The College Tour.”
The show’s crew and host Alex Boylan visited ISU this week to chat with students about the episode, which is expected to be available to stream on Amazon Prime in November. Boylan also held a press conference to answer questions from the media about the show.
The episodes feature students talking about their experience at school, often talking about the things that make the school unique. The ISU episode will include ten students, including students involved in sports and the Gamma Phi Circus, Boylan said.
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“If you’re leaning into a casting video, it’s an instinct (feeling), a good sign that the audience is going to lean,” Boylan said.
The show launched in late 2020, with the first episode on Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Since then, Boylan has visited over 50 schools for the show. ISU will be covered in the first episode of season six.
The production process is a collaboration between the show and the school, Boylan said. This includes two months of pre-production planning to determine what should be highlighted.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was featured in the first season. The show’s website includes a testimonial from UIUC’s senior marketing and media executive, Matt Wszolek, who said he appreciated the collaborative nature of the project.
Boylan has been a television host and producer since stepping into the field after winning season two of “The Amazing Race” in 2002. He was inspired to create “The College Tour” after his niece visited Los Angeles to see colleges. . She wanted to visit other schools in other states, but it was too expensive for her family.
The episode will likely be available to view through college and other means ahead of its Amazon Prime debut, Boylan said. He’s proud that no one has to pay to watch; people can even stream it on Amazon without a Prime subscription.
“We want all high school students around the world to be able to access this content,” he said.
Episodes can also be viewed on the show’s website, The College Tour phone app, YouTube, and on smart TVs and Roku devices. Individual clips are also available, which helps the show work for both parents and high school students who might be looking to watch shorter videos on their phones, Boylan said.
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“You can sit down and watch a half-hour episode or its modules,” he said.
“The College Tour” is different from other shows he’s worked on, in part because it grew out of personal experience, Boylan said. Having the chance to work with students for each episode is also new, but he finds being around them invigorating and inspiring, he said.
“Better yet, you’re working with students,” Boylan said.
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Contact Connor Wood at (309) 820-3240. Follow Connor on Twitter: @connorkwood
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