Alex Boylan traveled the world on The Amazing Race 20 years ago – but in the next act of his career as a television producer – he’s helping future high school grads figure out what they want to do with their next step in life with The College Tour. Northwest Florida State College got tapped to be the program’s 100th episode in its 9th season.
The idea was simple. Give virtual tours of colleges led by students from each school so that you don’t have to take a road trip or buy a plane ticket to narrow down the school or career path you want to take after high school.
Boylan’s eureka moment landed at LAX from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, four years ago. His niece, Izzy, visited him in Los Angeles to check out colleges. Simple enough, until he realized, after talking to Izzy’s mom, that she would probably only take a single scouting trip anywhere any distance from their home.
“I’ll never forget this, she looks over at me and says, ‘Uncle Alex, I want to take a look at some schools in Texas and Florida and pretty much every other state in the country. I could hear my older sister going ‘this is your only trip. If it wasn’t for your uncle living in LA, we probably wouldn’t be here.’ And that stuck with me. That my niece, like 99.9% of high schoolers out there, just didn’t have the finances to travel around and take a look at every college campus. Fortunately, this is what I do for a living, is make television shows!”
Thanks to the show – and its highlight of Arizona State University (as well as a full-ride scholarship via a Starbucks program), Izzy is about to complete her bachelor’s degree debt free.
Each episode follows ten students at a trade school, state college, or university around the country – and shows what students are studying, doing for fun, and other critical aspects of life at the school.
Students apply to be a part of the show, get selected from a pool of applicants, tour the campus and talk about their experience at the school.
The episode focuses on four primary areas of inquiry about the school: location, college type, campus culture, and available study areas.
About two and a half months after filming wraps, the school receives the first release of the program to use as a promotional tool for their school. The producers then release the episode on their website, on Amazon Prime, and other streaming services like Tubi. “No matter where you live, what your background is, you can watch the college tour and travel around the country from wherever you’re at,” said Boylan.
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