Applications now open for 2020 orientation leaders

October 24, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Many students can probably credit their orientation experience with helping them to make the transition to college life. For those who want to give back, help other students find their way, be part of a tight-knit team, and don the pink polo, Student Orientation and Transition Programs (SOTP) at Penn State is now accepting applications for orientation leaders for summer 2020.

Orientation leaders have the responsibility of serving as group facilitators for New Student Orientation (NSO) and assisting first-year students and their families as they start their journey at Penn State. They also support the campus’ transitional programming that serves transfer, commuter, international and change-of-campus students.

Each year, former orientation leaders help select the next round of candidates.

This year, Nate Gillespie and Maddie Benz will help SOTP find their new roster of student orientation leaders for the 2020 NSO season. Both said the job was rewarding and contributed significantly to their personal growth.

“Being an orientation leader for was an invaluable experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world,” Benz said. “I was able to grow personally, professionally and as a leader. This experience really pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to be more confident in my leadership, refine my public speaking skills and work on my interpersonal skills.”

The two former orientation leaders said they also value the connections they made while helping their peers transition to college life.

“The most rewarding part of the job is seeing students that I had down the road and them remembering me as someone who they can consider a friend and who made their first taste of Penn State a positive experience,” Gillespie said.

Applicants must current full-time undergraduates, be enrolled for the fall 2020 semester, have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and have obtained at least 24 credits by the end of the spring semester. Part of the training is a three-credit class during the spring that meets Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. in addition to retreats on Feb. 1 and March 28. Orientation leaders must plan to be at the University Park campus from May 13 to Aug. 23, except for a hiatus from July 18 to Aug. 16.

Orientation leaders are paid an hourly rate of $10 and can expect to earn about $3,700 pre-tax for their summer work.

For more information, visit

The Office of Student Orientation and Transition Programs is part of Penn State Student Affairs and Penn State Undergraduate Education. Undergraduate Education is the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated October 24, 2019