This year, in an unprecedented move of generosity by the New College of Florida, the Student Success Program decided to start paying their student volunteers. Orientation Leaders (OLs) for the incoming class of ‘26 are being paid minimum wage for their position.
According to Assistant Dean of Students Affairs Anjali Cadena, this is the only student volunteer position becoming a paid one, although if an enterprising student is looking for work, it couldn’t hurt to keep asking.
“It is common practice across North America for the OL role to be a paid leadership opportunity,” Cadena wrote in an email interview.
The reason for this, apparently, is that OLs have to spend time over the summer and leave their summer obligations early, and the school is unwilling to put students through financial hardship by stealing them away from their summer jobs for orientation training. This way, all students—even working ones—can become OLs if they want to.
The new OLs will be getting a $10 hourly wage for their time with the different orientation groups, and have to be in good academic standing. Currently, the school is in the process of selecting the new OLs from their applicants.
OLs have a broad and complex job description, with each OL being tasked with looking after a group of about 15 different students over their first couple weeks. They watch these incoming first-years and transfers for several hours a day for their first week on campus, lead tours and participate in the Orientation Olympics (read: a bouncy house obstacle course and some P.E. games from high school). Cadena describes this as is a leadership opportunity—a chance for students to get involved in the school community and learn how to manage people and work with younger students.