Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Arthur Hernandez


Jessica Kimmel


Raul Zendejas


Theory suggests students benefit when they become involved in co-curricular activities outside the classroom (Astin, 1993). While there is some literature on college orientation programs, most is dated and focuses on the participants attending orientation, providing little knowledge on the student orientation leaders (OLs) who help execute the programs (Pierson & Timmerman, 2004). Therefore, this grounded theory study was conducted to describe the details of the participants’ lived experiences serving as orientation leaders. The intent of this qualitative study was to extract meaning and understanding from the OLs personal accounts and their unique interpretations of their experiences. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted with 8 OLs who led orientation at a private university. I analyzed data using a constant comparative method resulting in 13 codes emerging from the first phase of analysis. After a more in-depth analysis and further categorization, three dominant categories emerged from the codes and observation notes. Although initial feelings of nervousness, insecurity, and hesitation to participate were shared, many participants mentioned feeling a sense of accomplishment and growth as they collaborated through the experience with their peers. In addition, OLs felt that working as a leader on campus helped them feel more positively connected to the university. It is anticipated that study results will help to inform the discipline and profession about the dynamics, which explain how student leaders are impacted through the orientation leader process. It is also hoped that this research will vi inform faculty and college administrators concerning community building through engagement, be responsive to student’s needs, and aid in the development of student leaders and the orientation program.