The Time to Apply to Be a TOL is Now

Alessia Girardin

TOL leaders high-five incoming freshman as they exit orientation. Photo: Illinois Wesleyan University

That time of year is coming around: the annual application to become a 2022 Titan Orientation Leader (TOL) is now open. Kevin Carey, Association Dean of Students, and Ryan Downing, Graduate Intern for Orientation Services are eager to take on applicants to fit this role as a Rising Titan (Summer Orientation) and/or Turning Titan program in August.

The deadline to apply is in two weeks, which is on February 11th at 11:59 p.m. TOLs prepare incoming students for their time on campus.  All applicants for this role must be in good standing with the University, and they will be asked to participate in group format interviews the week of February 28th. 

The committee is looking for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are prepared to serve as transition support and role models of what it means to be a thriving student. 

“I am always eager to support our Titan Orientation Leaders in their development of skills to enrich and enhance their Titan experience,” Carey said. 

TOLs also participate in training and relationship-building as a team prior to the end of the semester, as they continue to perfect and ensure orientation experiences for incoming students match the needs of the Titan community. 

“I view the Titan Orientation Leader experience as a robust, critical student leadership experience here in our community, and I am eager to see what they will bring in their role in supporting new students,” Carey said. 

TOLs get to build relationships with IWU faculty and staff and be a part of making an impact on the university, all while developing personally and professionally. 

“I absolutely loved my role as a TOL. It’s such a blast to see new students begin finding their home away from home at Illinois Wesleyan,” senior Sydney Fornnarino said.

The orientation sessions will also invite up to two parent/family members to Rising Titan sessions this summer, which will be a change for this years’ TOLs as they continue to build on this program.

Fornnarino has been a TOL for three years and, according to her, one of the main things that leaders become accustomed to is adapting to the needs of new students. She said COVID-19 has also impacted how ready new students are for the college experience. 

“Being a TOL means constantly growing and adapting to the needs of new students which have been particularly challenging ever since COVID began,” Fornnarino said. “Don’t be afraid to be a little goofy and show your incoming students that it’s okay to be yourself and try new things.”

Senior Jack McElveen V, who was a TOL this past year, said that he would give incoming applicants tips about how to make campus their own. He did this by showing them how he made IWU feel like home, and that, often, it would show through his relationships with other TOLs. 

I loved every part of hanging with the first years I met and being able to give them tips about how to make the campus their own and the best part was being able to build memories with best friends who were TOL as well.” said McElveen V. 

Forrnnarino echoed McElveen V, and said that the key to being a TOL is putting yourself back into your freshman year shoes and thinking about what you needed to hear. 

“My advice to incoming applicants would be to think back to how they felt as freshmen and reflect on those experiences— both the good and bad,” Forrnnarino said.