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  • Orientation leaders posing for a photo outside on the Horseshoe

Orientation Leaders

Each year, hundreds of students apply to represent the University of South Carolina as an Orientation Leader. A summer on our team is a unique experience to foster leadership skills while supporting new Gamecocks and helping them find their place at South Carolina.

The Orientation Leader application is closed.

Applications for the Orientation Leader team open each year in the fall. Follow our social media for updates!


What is an Orientation Leader?

An Orientation Leader is an integral part of New Student Orientation at the University of South Carolina. For years they have served as a support system for incoming Gamecocks, all while developing themselves as leaders on campus and beyond. They have the responsibility of representing the university and sharing Gamecock pride with over 8,500 new students and 7,000 family members each year.

The Office of New Student Orientation expects Orientation Leaders to:

  • Attend and actively participate in all trainings, Orientation sessions and other dates of service.
  • Assist with our initiatives and those of the university, including New Student Convocation, recruitment and move-in events.
  • Support and serve as a role model to incoming students.
  • Work as a team with other Orientation Leaders, Lead Team members and our professional staff.
  • Participate and assist with the organization, preparation and implementation of Orientation.
  • Provide customer service to Orientation guests by answering questions, providing direction, etc. 
  • Assist advisors in enrolling new students in classes.
  • Facilitate group discussions and activities.
  • Perform skits, vignettes, and an opening welcome for new students during Freshman Orientation sessions.
  • Abide by and reinforce the Carolinian Creed, all university regulations and state laws.
  • Demonstrate the ability to be reliable, responsible, helpful and flexible.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work and communicate effectively with a diverse group of people.
  • Show respect for others and a willingness to appreciate others' views.
  • Exhibit a desire to learn about the university.

In order to be considered for an Orientation Leader position, you must:

  • Be a full-time undergraduate student at the university during the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years.
  • Have abided by all university policies and state laws while a student at the University of South Carolina.
  • Have and maintain good academic standing within your academic college.
  • Have and maintain good conduct with no outstanding judicial sanctions.
  • Have a 2.5 cumulative GPA (if below a 2.5, the applicant must speak with an Office of New Student Orientation professional staff member).

As a result of being an Orientation Leader, students will:

  • Support incoming students.
  • Gain leadership opportunities and professional experience.
  • Network with university staff and fellow student leaders.
  • Gain knowledge of campus resources and services.
  • Receive free on-campus housing during Intensive Training and the duration of Summer Orientation (pending in-person Orientation programming).
  • Receive meals during Intensive Training and Summer Orientation (pending in-person Orientation programming).
  • Gain access to the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center during Summer Orientation (pending in-person Orientation programming).
  • Receive University gear including Orientation staff polos, name tags and t-shirts.
  • Be awarded a leadership stipend of approximately $2,700 (less applicable taxes).

Fall 2021

  • Orientation Leader Welcome Social: Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Spring 2022

  • Weekly training meetings from 4:20 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons
  • Orientation Team Retreat: January 21-23, 2022
  • Student Leadership and Diversity Conference: Dates TBD
  • Southeastern Regional Orientation Workshop (SROW): Dates TBD
  • Team Training Workshops: Feb. 6 and Feb. 20, 2022

Summer 2022

  • Intensive Training: May 23-June 3, 2022
  • Summer Orientation: June & July
  • August Orientations: Mid-August
  • New Student Convocation: Middle of August

Spring 2023

  • January Orientation Programs: Typically a few days before spring classes begin

Preparing to be an Orientation Leader

Through all training opportunities described below, Orientation Leaders will gain substantial knowledge about the university, campus resources, and community expectations. Trainings also give Orientation Leaders the opportunity to bond with their fellow teammates and build deeper connections prior to the start of Summer Orientation.

Spring Training follows a leadership development curriculum that includes weekly trainings, a staff retreat, and Sunday workshops. Orientation Leaders will learn about their own leadership style, strengths, weaknesses, and communication style, as well as strategies for navigating conflict and creating an inclusive environment for all students. These skills will not only assist Orientation Leaders in their roles, but will also provide rewarding opportunities for professional and personal growth.

Taking place after Spring Training, Intensive Training is when Orientation Leaders learn about program logistics and campus resources. Orientation Leaders will practice relaying critical information through skits, which are performed during New Student Orientation. After Intensive Training, Orientation Leaders leave with an immense knowledge of resources available to students at the University of South Carolina and ways to assist in their transition.

Summer Orientation is when Orientation Leaders get to see their hard work during training pay off. Orientation Leaders create excitement about attending the University of South Carolina, all while welcoming incoming students and their guests to campus. They will facilitate small groups, perform in skits, and assist in the class registration process. 

Furthering your leadership potential 

Following their year as an Orientation Leader, students will have the opportunity to apply for next year’s Orientation Team as a Lead Team Member. The Lead Team serves as critical members of the office staff by assisting with the planning and development of the Orientation program and the Orientation Leader experience.

Additionally, many Orientation Leaders continue to serve South Carolina by becoming Univeristy 101 Peer Leaders, Resident Mentors, members of Student Government, Teaching Assistants, and Research Assistants, to name a few.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.