Peer Advising Leaders (PAL) Program

The PAL program aims to create a sense of community among incoming Oberlin students and help them make the most of their first-year experience, both inside and outside the classroom.

Peer Advising Leaders (PALs) are upper-class students who have been trained to work directly with incoming College of Arts and Sciences and Double Degree Progam students and help ease the transition to Oberlin life and learning. Each PAL leads a cohort of 15 new students who are also in a class together through the First-Year Seminar program (FYSP). In this way, members of each cohort share academic, cocurricular, 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 students every step of the way. During New Student Orientation in August, as well as the fall semester, PALs facilitate a range of sessions to introduce students to Oberlin and its surrounding communities, explain important campus policies like the Honor Code, prepare students for course registration and appointments with their academic advisor, build effective communication skills, and so much more.

The PAL program has significantly expanded in order to more fully meet the needs of students transitioning to college in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In preparation for the 2020–21 academic year, PALs worked closely with incoming students throughout the summer to support their academic, social, and personal success. More details about the program structure for the 2021–22 academic year will be added to this page over the summer. To read more about the college’s COVID-19 planning, visit the ObieSafe website.

The PAL program is made possible through a collaborative effort involving the Academic Advising Resource Center, the Division of Student Life, and the College of Arts and Sciences.


Nathan Carpenter '20
Director, PAL and SOAR Programs

PAL and the First-Year Seminar Program (FYSP)

The PAL Program is closely aligned with the First-Year Seminar Program (FYSP), helping first-year students develop skills in critical and creative thinking, discussion, and writing, while becoming acquainted with resources available for learning at Oberlin.


Are you a first-year student or PAL with further questions about the program? Check out our FAQ. If you don’t find your answer there, please feel free to reach out to Nathan Carpenter, director of PAL, at You can also keep up with PAL on Twitter!