Amazon Prime’s ‘The College Tour’ to film a Columbia episode this summer

By Shane Verkest, Multimedia Reporter

Ryan Brumback

An Amazon documentary series highlighting college lifestyle and culture across the U.S. has selected Columbia for an episode of its upcoming second season.

It was announced May 24 that Columbia College Chicago will be featured in the Amazon Prime series “The College Tour.”

According to Andrew Whatley, senior director for enrollment marketing communications, Columbia got involved in “The College Tour” when they were approached by the series producers to do an episode.

“Columbia really is a unique place,” Whatley said. “I want to do everything I can to find that and to make sure [students discovering Columbia] know everything they need to know about us.”

Students were given the opportunity to send in their own auditions via Handshake to be featured in the episode.

“We want them to bring their authentic voices to it; we want them to be telling a story from their own experience in their own hearts,” Whatley said.

One student who applied and was selected to be featured in the episode was sophomore film and television major Jewel Baker. Baker said she learned about the opportunity to apply through Columbia’s Instagram page.

“I was really excited,” Baker said. “I think it’s going to open the eyes for individuals all over the world on what all Columbia can really offer.”

Another student who applied to be featured in the episode was Jacklyn Elliott, a junior film major. She thinks the episode will be a great way for incoming students to learn more about the school.

“I think a lot of the time when you go to orientations or campus tours, you might get speeches and stuff from teachers, whereas this is 100% student stories,” Elliott said.

Although the episode is still under development, it is currently planned to have 10 segments, each highlighting a unique part of the Columbia experience, such as Columbia’s emphasis on creativity and Columbia events like Manifest.

Senior film major Bertram Rodgers was also selected to be featured in the episode. He said he is excited for the opportunity to be an ambassador for the school.

“I am not a traditional student,” Rodgers said. “I’m older than the average age of a Columbia student. One of my main objectives is to serve as an example … that it is never too late for change.”

Daniel Levin, a junior creative writing major selected for the episode, believes a massive platform like Amazon Prime will give Columbia national and global exposure.

“I love Columbia and I have wanted to give back for such a long time,” Levin said. “I know how big of a difference a college tour can make or break your college acceptance journey.”

According to Alex Nelson, content marketing manager for the Undergraduate Admissions Office, this episode with Amazon could boost enrollment.

“I think a 30-minute episode that really tells the story of Columbia can have a really strong influence and hopefully help prospective and incoming students see themselves reflected and think that Columbia is the right place for them,” Nelson said.

Filming will take place on campus from July 19 through July 22. The finished episode is slated to be released on Hulu and Amazon Prime by early October 2021.