Orientation Leaders are full-time, undergraduate students at University Park who serve as group facilitators, resource persons, role models, and ambassadors for Penn State.

As an Orientation Leader, staff members are expected to:

  • Facilitate small group discussion on subjects including: transition issues; diversity and inclusion; health, safety, and personal responsibilities; and responsible decision making;
  • Present information to students on education planning, including academic requirements, academic goal setting, academic integrity, and exploring academic majors alongside academic advisers;
  • Respond to questions from students and families about university life using personal experiences in a professional manner;
  • Work cooperatively within a team of fellow student leaders to accomplish tasks;
  • Encourage students to establish meaningful connections with other first-year students and share the importance of these connections during their transition to the University; and
  • Engage in self-evaluation and reflection to develop a personal growth plan.

In addition, all applicants should demonstrate evidence of:

  • strong leadership skills;
  • active participation in academic and co-curricular activities;
  • the ability to work comfortably with diverse populations;
  • working knowledge of the University’s academic structure and various resources;
  • high levels of maturity exhibited through sound judgment, emotional stability, flexibility, and willingness to accept responsibility;
  • a warm, supportive, and non-judgmental attitude; and
  • strong communication and interpersonal skills through proven ability to interact effectively with others one-on-one, in small groups, and in large presentations.

Orientation Leaders must be able to be flexible and patient, as NSO is a demanding and fast-paced working environment. Orientation Leaders are expected to actively engage with students and families while providing a welcoming environment for all new Penn Staters.


Orientation Leaders are paid hourly at a rate of $10.00/hour. Throughout New Student Orientation, OLs will average 36 hours/week. Orientation Leaders will gain improved work ethic, time management, collaboration, leadership, communication, and public speaking skills; have an opportunity to network with university staff; and gain an understanding of careers in higher education. New Student Orientation attire and gear are also provided.

Orientation Leaders are responsible for securing their own housing for the summer.