Week 15: Welcome from the PAL Program

Ready, Set, Oberlin! A week-by-week guide to prepare for your arrival

Issue #15

Welcome from the PAL Program

Dear New Obie,

I am excited to welcome you to Oberlin, and in particular, to inform you that, even before you step on campus, you have a PAL (a Peer Advising Leader, that is)! 

The PAL Program seeks to support your transition to Oberlin life while helping you navigate your first-year academic, co-curricular, and social experiences. You have been paired with a PAL, an upper-level student trained and committed to shepherding your introduction to and successful integration into Oberlin, as well as a cohort of approximately 15 other new students.

In addition to being oriented to the Oberlin community, campus policies, course registration process, academic advising, and digital infrastructure, our hope is that, through the PAL Program, you will put down roots that nurture not only your aspirations and road map for achieving your goals, but strengthen your connection with fellow Obies.

Please mark your calendar for the week of August 22nd, when your PAL experience will begin with a variety of remote activities geared toward helping you establish a relationship with your PAL and cohort group. I look forward to meeting you then and to greeting you in person the week of August 29th for Orientation! Continue to have a safe summer. 


Carter Cooper 

Manager, Academic Peer Advising 

Carter Cooper

Goals and Focus Areas of the PAL Program

The Peer Advising Leaders (PAL) program’s goal is to support all incoming students in building community and preparing to make the most of their first-year experience, inside and outside the classroom. New students will join their cohorts even before they get to campus, in order to grow the roots that will allow them to succeed during their first semester at Oberlin and beyond. Peer Advising Leaders (PALs) are second-, third-, and fourth-year students who are trained to support incoming Arts and Sciences and Double Degree students as they navigate the transition to Oberlin life and learning. Each PAL leads a cohort of 15 new students who also share a class through the First-Year Seminar program (FYSP). In this way, each cohort shares academic, co-curricular, and social experiences throughout their first semester, forming bonds that will last through the rest of their time at Oberlin and beyond.

The PALs are there to help every step of the way. During New Student Orientation and the fall semester, PALs facilitate sessions that introduce students to the Oberlin community, explain important campus policies like the Honor Code, prepare students for course registration and appointments with their academic advisor, build effective communication and organizational skills, and so much more.

New Student Orientation 

During the week of August 22nd, the PAL experience will begin with a series of remote meetings. In these meetings, incoming students will have a chance to start building relationships with their peers, articulate their goals and aspirations for their first semester, prepare to meet with their advisors and to register for classes, and plan for their arrival to campus.

PAL meetings will continue once students have arrived in Oberlin. During this in-person portion of the Orientation experience, students will build on connections initiated during their remote cohort sessions. Together, cohorts will develop organizational strategies for academic success, discuss how to create inclusive and equitable communities, get their bearings on campus, and venture into Cleveland for a day of fun and exploration.

LEAD 050  

The PAL cohort experience continues into the semester through the cocurricular LEAD 050 course. As students settle into their first semester at Oberlin, PALs will convene regular meetings to help students understand concepts like academic integrity, prepare to participate in their first winter term, connect with important campus resources inside and outside the classroom, and plan for future semesters.

Social Connections 

Throughout New Student Orientation and the fall semester, PALs help new students transition to Oberlin life and learning. During all PAL sessions, as well as in opportunities for students to gather socially, the ethos of “Obies helping Obies” remains at the program’s core. This is why we are proud to say that, at Oberlin, every new Student has a PAL!