Office of the Dean of the Conservatory

Conservatory Peer Advising Leaders

The Conservatory PAL program aims to create a sense of community among first-year students and help them make the most of their first-year experience.

Conservatory Peer Advising Leaders (ConPALs) have been trained to support first-years to navigate Orientation and also the fall semester. ConPALs help first-year students use Oberlin’s academic and developmental advising system to its full potential.

All first-year students have the opportunity to be involved with this program during Orientation. Belonging to a team means students will go through new experiences with others by their side for support and timely information.

The ConPAL program places special emphasis on creating social connections and friendships across studios and divisions for conservatory students. In addition to curricular activities, ConPAL cohorts take part in many social activities together. In the past, they might meet over lunch, go out for ice cream, and participate in a Game Night at Hales Gymnasium during the first week of classes to maximize social time spent with students who play other instruments.

Our hope is that this will help new Obies make lasting friendships while learning how to succeed academically at Oberlin.

The ConPALs program runs concurrently with the college’s PAL Program, a collaborative effort involving the Academic Advising Resource Center, the Division of Student Life, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

This year, the PAL Program has significantly expanded in order to more fully meet the needs of students transitioning to Oberlin in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Review Changes to PAL

Meet the ConPALs

Conservatory PALs represent Oberlin’s diversity in terms of academic and cocurricular experience, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexuality, citizenship, and immigration status.

The first cohort of ConPALs were selected to work with incoming first-year students in fall 2018. In spring 2019, the second cohort was chosen to serve as mentors for the incoming Oberlin Conservatory Class of 2023.

This highly competitive process identified students who are knowledgeable about the college and conservatory, and demonstrate excellence in teamwork, communication, and a passion for mentoring first-year students. 

The selected ConPALs are committed to creating supportive spaces in which first-year students can flourish academically, musically, and socially. ConPALs participate in an intensive three-day training each summer to become informed and skilled peer advisors.

Why did Obies choose to become PALs?

You grow while they grow. While helping first-year students connect their past experiences to courses and future experiences, you’ll hone skills for doing the same thing! You’ll develop the skills to communicate to future employers about your experiences at Oberlin.

Become a better leader. While leading your advising cohort and presenting information, you will gain experience in advising and fine-tune your interpersonal skills.

Connect to your community. Part of being an Obie is helping others. The ConPAL program will create a sense of community for both first-years and current students, as it will contribute to a campus culture in which everyone supports and looks out for one another.

Learn more about Oberlin and the conservatory. What do you wish you had known about during your first year at the conservatory? Your first year in Oberlin? Now you can help first-years find and take advantage of all the opportunities this campus has to offer. Helping them may inspire you to try new things and reconnect with helpful resources.

Explore your own path. While engaging first-year students in exercises of self-awareness, self-confidence, and intentional learning, you, too, can master the art of becoming ever more confident and excited about new educational experiences and professional responsibilities.

Why did Oberlin create the PAL program?

  • To improve the quality of students experience, learning, retention, and success
  • To help students learn to take advantage of the great range of educational opportunities and developmental support at Oberlin
  • To support students in learning to take advantage of the great range of educational opportunities and developmental support at Oberlin
  • To help students gain skills in interacting across our diverse student body within a supportive environment


Are you a first-year student or ConPAL with further questions about the program? Contact Chris Jenkins, associate dean for academic support and director of ConPAL, at .