What you need to know before applying to be a Peer Leader
Who can be a reference on my Peer Leader application?
The recommendation helps us to know you better and also demonstrates your initiative in making a connection with a university faculty or staff member. For this reason, your recommender should not be an undergraduate student. Examples of an appropriate reference could include an academic advisor, professor, mentor, student organization advisor or current supervisor. That person should know you well enough to be able to speak to your ability to be successful as a Peer Leader. When you submit your online application, you will be asked to submit the name, position title and email address of your recommender, so make sure you have that available when completing your application. First Year Experience staff will not serve as a reference for the position.
What is the timeline for selection?
Submit online applications by Wednesday, January 31. After applications have been reviewed, selected candidates will be invited to an individual interview in mid-February. Select candidates will move forward to our group interview at the end of February. Candidates who are unavailable during this time may be scheduled into a make-up interview date. Following the group interview, all remaining candidates will be notified of their final status by spring break.
How many Peer Leaders will be selected?
First Year Experience is committed to hiring a Peer Leader team that will best meet the needs of our incoming first-year class. We expect to hire around 30 Peer Leaders.
How can I successfully manage the Peer Leader role with my other commitments?
First-year students are the first priority—after academics, of course! Because we want you to have the flexibility and availability to connect with new students at various times each week throughout an entire semester, we ask that your other commitments—like a second job or participation in student organizations—stay within 10-15 hours per week. Research shows that students who take on more than 20 hours per week of additional commitments outside of their classroom responsibilities are less likely to succeed; however, you will likely discover that many campus activities support the mission of the Peer Leader role. If selected as a Peer Leader, you will work with a supervisor to manage and monitor additional commitments.
I am planning to take classes, co-op or study abroad in May or summer. Is that allowed?
You are not eligible for the Peer Leader position if you wish to participate in a study abroad experience or co-op or internship that would take you away from the May Peer Leader training or any semester (including summer). Though FYE values the education and perspective that come with such experiences, we want to be sure that first-year students are able to learn from and connect with Peer Leaders who are available to shape first-year students’ success over an entire year.
Can I be exempt from the summer living requirement?
The Peer Leader position requires a significant time commitment during training and throughout the summer, especially during summer Orientation, that requires you to be alert and engaged from early in the morning until late in the evening. The Peer Leader presence among new students staying in the residence halls during Orientation is an important first step in outreach and relationship development. For those reasons, you are required to live in the residence halls during the summer. No exceptions will be considered. Throughout the summer, you will have weekends off, and you are not required to stay in the residence halls on weekends.
Are there any inflexible time commitments that I should plan for this summer or when scheduling autumn semester courses?
Full participation in all Peer Leader training and employment requirements is expected. You must be free of day or evening commitments Monday through Friday during May, June and July. May training (May 7-25) will occur M-F from roughly 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first week of training will be off-site at camp. You must live in residence during May training, but you will have weekends off and are not required to sleep in the residence halls on weekends.
For the academic year, you should hold time for the Peer Leader staff meeting every Friday from 3-4:30 p.m. However, it will not exclude you from being hired if a required academic course conflicts with the Peer Leader staff meeting.
What happens if I need to request time off during the summer?
If you need to request time off, you will work with a supervisor. Requests must be submitted by April 14 and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Very few time-off requests can be approved given the nature of our staffing needs. An example of an approved time-off request would be a student taking the LSAT or a long weekend for a family commitment. If you become ill or face a personal emergency, you should notify an FYE supervisor as soon as possible. When the university is on an academic break (fall, winter and spring breaks), you may work additional hours during those breaks but are not required to do so. All time off is unpaid.
Given that this is a 12-month position, how will Peer Leader responsibilities differ depending on the time of the year?
During the summer (May-July), you will work full time (38 hours per week) to support incoming students. The summer is a critical period when you begin a foundation for the outreach and relationship development that occurs in the fall. The full-time summer role requires you to often work long days, to wake up early and to work late at night. The 38 hours per week will be assigned in various shifts throughout the day Monday through Friday and will not be limited to an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. timeframe.
The academic year schedule is a more flexible 10-15 hour per week position, allowing you to make academic commitments your top priority. Most Peer Leader responsibilities occur Monday-Friday with some weekend commitments.
What does it mean to be a role model at all times?
As a Peer Leader, you represent yourself, First Year Experience and The Ohio State University at all times, even when you are not working in an official Peer Leader capacity. First-year students look to upperclassmen to model behaviors that lead to success both inside and outside the classroom. As representatives of the university and a role model to new students, Peer Leaders are held to the highest standards for both conduct and character. You must uphold all aspects of the Student Code of Conduct and state and federal law, including all laws pertaining to the underage consumption of alcohol.
How is this position different than other peer mentor roles on campus?
First Year Experience Peer Leaders are unique in a couple of significant ways. First, you won’t be serving a specific population of students, but supporting a wide range of identities, majors and backgrounds. You’ll be assigned some students that you’ll meet throughout Orientation in the summer, and you’ll continue to serve the same group of 250-300 students over the course of the year. Second, you’ll spend significant time building and managing relationships with students. The Peer Leader role will run a full calendar year, and the time commitment to this role is perhaps more demanding than some other mentorship roles across our campus.
What are some of the more challenging aspects of being a Peer Leader?
“One of the most challenging aspects of being a Peer Leader is prioritizing your time after academics for this position. You must be dedicated to helping students as a Peer Leader before other commitments. I have had conflicts of interest between my student org involvement and being a Peer Leader. They are not mutually exclusive, but you have to make sure that your priorities are in check when you are a Peer Leader.”
– Current Peer Leader
“Some more of the challenging aspects of being a Peer Leader is how close some of the students get to you. It is really a double-edged sword. It’s both what I love and 'hate' at the same time. Of course you want to be there and help out with every problem they have, but unfortunately sometimes you can’t do anything but listen and offer support. That killed me sometimes because I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. For instance, you know when the Buckeyes are playing and you want to jump in on the field and take the ball and run your own moves? That's what I wanted to do to help out my students sometimes. What I learned is instead of being one of the men on the field, you can be a coach in the press box talking to Urban (your students), helping him set up formations and plays. If you get my football analogy, what I’m trying to say is there will be sometimes you want to jump right in and help them out, but it is out of your control. The best thing you can do for them is be that guide and tell them possible things they could do and resources that might help them. In short, for me the most challenging part was feeling like I’m not doing enough for my students and my own personal self-care.”
– Current Peer Leader
What are some of the more rewarding aspects of being a Peer Leader?
“Some of the most rewarding aspects of being a Peer Leader are seeing your students accomplish great things here at OSU and their confidence and trust in you! They will tell you their passions, goals and fears. It’s amazing seeing them progress and accomplish all these little goals. Whether they are asked to speak in front of the university and want to run a speech by you, invite you to one of their shows, or are a diver on the swim team and want to see you in the stands, your students will want to see you present in certain places. It’s amazing to see how your students will crush their fears that they came in with and become a more independent adult and Buckeye.”
– Current Peer Leader