Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Peer Leaders help students transition to college life

Starting at the end of January, the Office of First Year Experience will be accepting applications for Peer Leaders.

Peer Leaders is a program where upperclassmen are paired with freshman classes to act as mentors and aid the students in their transition to college life. The Peer Leaders work with professors and offer students advice, study skills, information about events on campus and suggestions for things to do in Tuscaloosa. The leaders meet with students both in and outside of class, sometimes taking them to restaurants or off-campus events.

“I really enjoyed just getting to know the freshmen and seeing their excitement for campus and their nervousness about this new adventure as well as being able to kind of guide them, answer questions and help them follow the right path,” Kelsey Curtis, a junior who has participated in Peer Leaders for two years, said.

The program began in spring 2012. Applicants are interviewed and trained in the spring and paired with classes the following fall semester.

Program director Litsa Orban said Peer Leaders was started to get incoming students involved on campus as soon as possible.

“We know there is value in connecting first-year students to their instructors early on, and we know there is value in peer-to-peer relationships,” Orban said.

Miya Ball, a junior who mentored a class called “Get Involved, Become A Leader, Make a Difference,” said Peer Leaders was a great way to get leadership experience and learn about resources on campus.

“I was hesitant at first, I’m not going to lie,” Ball said. “It was something new and out of my comfort zone. But now I’m doing different leadership activities and going to different conferences, so it’s really allowed me to try other things that I never would have thought I would have done before.”

For the freshmen who participated, the program gave them a chance to familiarize themselves not only with the campus, but also with the community of Tuscaloosa. Taylor Martell, a freshman who was mentored by Ball, found the small classroom environment a good opportunity to meet and get close to other students.

“For me it provided an outlet for any questions I had about how to get involved,” Martell said. “The peer leaders were very helpful because they’ve been here for years, so they know what’s available. And for the first class they asked us what our interests were and they based it off of that, and they did research and told us what clubs to get involved it, what to check out.”

Kyle Jones, a sophomore who worked in a class called “Transitioning from Military Life to Campus Life,” said the value of the relationships he built as part of Peer Leaders was one of the biggest benefits.

“If you want to get involved, it’s a great opportunity to meet with other UA students,” Jones said. “I can honestly say by the end of the fall semester, everyone that got involved in the program was a close-knit family. It was a great bonding experience. It made us feel a much more personal connection to UA and to other students.”

Peer Leader applications will be available Jan. 31 on the First Year Experience website at

More to Discover