Week 4: Advising and Support Network/International Student and Scholar Services

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

Issue #4

Learn About Your Advising and Support Network; International Student and Scholar Services

Faculty member teaching a student

‌Your Advising and Support Network 

by Nathan Carpenter '20, Director of Peer Advising and Coordinator for Strategic Initiatives

From the moment you arrive at Oberlin, you will have access to a personalized support network. This network includes your academic advisor and peer mentors who will support you both inside and outside the classroom. You will also have access to the full breadth of student support resources available to all Oberlin students. You’ll continue to learn about these resources throughout the summer and once you arrive on campus.

Your Academic Advisor
Every new Obie is assigned an academic advisor. This person will become one of your most important resources while navigating Oberlin. All advisors are faculty or staff members who are invested in supporting you holistically. In the conservatory, your studio teacher is often, although not always, your advisor. You will first meet with your academic advisor during New Student Orientation. At this meeting, you will finalize your schedule for the fall semester and plan ahead for other opportunities that Oberlin offers.

You will continue to meet with your advisor throughout your first semester to discuss academic pathways and strategies for success. In addition to supporting you academically, your advisor can help connect you with campus resources, student organizations, and other faculty members whose courses you may be interested in taking. 

Your Peer Advising Leader (PAL)
At Oberlin, we like to say that every new student has a PAL. PALs are upperclass students trained to help you successfully navigate academic and experiential learning opportunities during your first semester and beyond. PAL uses a cohort-based model to support your transition to Oberlin. In the Arts & Sciences, each cohort shares a class through the First-Year Seminar Program; in the Conservatory, cohorts include students from across all performance areas and disciplines to ensure that you have strong social connections inside and outside your studio.

Throughout New Student Orientation, your PAL will help you prepare to meet your academic advisor and finalize your course schedule, guide you through a daylong trip into Cleveland, provide resources for a successful first semester, and more. For Arts & Sciences students, the PAL experience continues into the fall semester through the credit-bearing course “LEAD 050: Introduction to Oberlin Life and Learning.” 

Your Resident Assistant (RA)
Your residential community at Oberlin will be an important part of your first-year experience. Whether you choose to live in a First-Year Residential Experience community, an identity-based community, a  language house, or traditional housing, you will have an RA who is committed to helping you feel supported and welcomed. 

All RAs are fellow students who have been chosen for their leadership and community-building capacity. Throughout the year, your RA will help you navigate important processes like creating roommate agreements, host programs to help you get to know your fellow residents, and serve as a general resource for any questions you may have.

International Student and Scholar Services

By Josh Whitson,  Assistant Dean, and Director, International Student Resource Center

Over 10% of Oberlin students come from outside the U.S., Picture of International Peer Mentorsrepresenting more than 50 countries. When combined with faculty and staff from around the world, this integral group of students contributes to what is truly a global campus. The goal of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is to help international students succeed in their studies. We are committed to creating an environment in which international students grow, thrive, and make the most out of all that Oberlin has to offer. 

If you are an international student, International Student and Scholar Services will send you important information and updates during the next few months, so be sure to keep an eye on your email! You will also hear from an international student peer mentor, who can answer any of your questions. 

Once you are on campus, International Student and Scholar Services will be your one-stop-shop for all international student needs, including advising on immigration paperwork and processes, programs designed to help international students transition to U.S. academic life, and a center for the international student community. 

All new F-1 and J-1 students are expected to attend the international orientation on August 25. If you are a permanent resident, dual citizen, U.S. citizen living abroad, or otherwise in the U.S. on a different type of visa, you are welcome to attend; simply email intlstu@oberlin.edu to request to participate. The international orientation schedule will be posted when available.

See you in August!