For Peer Advisors
You should contact your advisees now if you haven’t already. You should determine how you will make and hold appointments with your advisees. We strongly urge you to use video chat or phone for appointments rather than email but we also support flexibility for students who cannot make synchronous times that also work for you. Some options for remote communication are:
- Consider WhatsApp (whatsapp.com) and Skype or Zoom if your advisees have those apps.
- Activate your Zoom account.
- Phone: You can use call forwarding from your direct office phone number in case you have advisees who don’t have internet access. Choose “Features & Voicemail” and then choose “Call Forward...” and enter your cell/home number. You can send your advisees your direct office phone number and when they call it, it will forward to your cell/home phone. Callers will not see your number. Remind advisees to pick up the “blocked” call from you at the time you agree to talk.
- Consider adding your remote app IDs/links (e.g. Skype: jane.doe; Zoom: https://sasupenn.zoom.us/my/janedoe; Calendly: https://calendly.com/jdoe) to your email signature.
- Appointments: Calendly (https://calendly.com/) is recommended for scheduling appointments. You can set it up so that Calendly feeds from your Outlook calendar and students can make appointments with an url.
In order to use some of this technology, you may need to:
- Update your home computer's operating system and web browsers.
- Test your computer's video camera and microphone.
- Consult with your School or Office computing support to request remote access.
Hear from College peer advisors about why they find it enjoyable and important to help incoming students adjust to Penn.
Students are invited to apply to become peer advisors. Outstanding and motivated peer advisors may then apply for leadership positions within the program.
Peer advisors are an integral part of the College's Advising program and, along with the pre-major advisor, are the first point of contact for incoming College students. They provide the perspective of an older student in the College and assist first-year students in making the transition from high school to Penn by sharing their strategies for academic success and knowledge of campus resources. The Peer Advising program also encourages peers to develop an appreciation for the diversity of Penn's community through training and exposure to varied student, staff and faculty experiences and perspectives. Finally, the program promotes Penn resources as a vehicle by which students grow and are enriched academically, socially and personally. Peer advisors contact advisees during the Advance Registration period in the summer and remain accessible to the advisees by email and/or phone throughout the rest of the summer and fall semester.
Current College students who are not in their final year apply to be peer advisors and are then selected and trained by the College Office. The peer advising program is coordinated by Dr. Douglas Paletta and Rebecca Schept in the College Office.
Peer advisors provide the following kinds of assistance to first-year students:
- Provide a student perspective on academic life in the College.
- Share their knowledge of campus resources and strategies for academic success.
- Help facilitate conversations between advisees and pre-major advisors.
- Help advisees become familiar with the Advance Registration process, Penn InTouch, the Academic Planning Worksheet and the College website.
- Provide information about opportunities and academic pursuits outside of the classroom.
- The Major Advising Program (MAP) allows first-year and sophomore students to contact declared majors and learn about the major from a student’s perspective. Third- and fourth-year peer advisors also serve as MAP advisors.
Senior peers are experienced peer advisors that have demonstrated a strong dedication to the Peer Advising program. They serve as informal mentors to new peer advisors and provide the College with feedback from a student perspective on the program, as well as College communications with undergraduates. Senior peers also assist the College Office by providing back-up to other peer advisors when needed.
Peer managers have demonstrated extra-ordinary dedication to the Peer Advising program. They bring vision, innovation, leadership and a strong commitment to the advancement of the College advising program. Managers mentor a group of senior peers and advise their own cohort of first-year students. Managers also assist the College Office with the recruitment, selection and training of new peer managers, senior peer advisors and peer advisors.
Peer Manager is a paid position requiring regular attendance at meetings and other work as assigned during the school year; managers must also be available to return to campus for New Student Orientation and program planning activities in August.
Responsibilities of peer managers include those of peer advisors and:
Plan and Conduct Training Sessions
- Assist with planning and conducting training sessions during the spring semester and New Student Orientation
- Be available throughout the summer by email and telephone and during the academic year to assist senior peer advisors and peer advisors
- Promote College programs including the Major Advising Program (MAP) and Majors Dinners
Mentor Senior Peer Advisors and Peer Advisors
- Work with all peer advisors to help them effectively advise their group of first-year students
- Maintain ongoing communication with peer advisors and senior peer advisors regarding program activities
Assist with Recruitment and Selection of Peer Advising Staff
- Assist with the evaluation and selection of new peer managers, senior peer advisors and new peer advisors
- Promote the peer advising program and recommend new candidates
- Attend regular peer manager staff meetings with program coordinators
- Additional responsibilities as assigned
Spring/Summer Action List
This page provides a guide to the steps you will need to take this summer as you help your advisees prepare for fall semester and academic life in the College.
Peer Advisor Steps
|Attend peer advisor orientation.|
Engage with Compass, the primary guide for incoming students throughout the summer. A link to Compass will be in the June 1 email.
|Be in touch with a peer manager if you are having trouble communicating with your advisees.|
|Mid-June: Receive second email from the College and access the names and contact information for their peer and pre-major advisor.||Mid-June: Make initial contact with advisees. Use Summer Email #1: Introduction. Help advisees plan the initial appointment with the pre-major advisor and Advance Registration. Follow up on the first day of Advance Registration (June 22) using Summer Email #2: Follow-up Email to Advisees.|
|Use Compass to:
||Review Compass. Call or Skype students:
Check in with advisees to confirm they've made appointments with their pre-major advisor for Advance Registration.
|Check their schedule on Penn InTouch.||Use Summer Email #3: Advisee Schedule Check-in to check in with advisees about their schedules. These should be available for viewing and changing in late July.|
Wait for the guidance from Peer Managers about how we'll do NSO before communicating with your incoming students!
|In Compass:||Explain plans for Welcome to the College and Campus Using Summer Email #4: NSO.|
|First-Year Student Move-in: Attend a Welcome to the College session.||Attend NSO training (tentative date August 30). Meet advisees for Welcome to the College and peer advising activity (tentative date August 31).|
Fall Action List
This page provides a guide to the steps you will need to take this fall as you help your advisees navigate their coursework, extracurriculars, opportunities and resources during their first semester in the College. The e-mail templates are for your use during the most important moments during the fall semester. Please note that we encourage you to meet with your advisees in person throughout the fall semester (individually or in groups).
Please wait to download the fall email templates until fall semester begins and the dates for the deadlines have been finalized.
Peer Advisor Steps
|Incoming students should be aware that the add deadline is approaching.||Remind advisees that add deadline is approaching (September 16). Use Fall Email #5: Add Deadline Reminder and Check-in to see how the first couple weeks of life at Penn and courses are going.|
|Incoming students will be taking their first midterms as College students.||Check in with advisees to see how first midterms went.|
|Incoming students should be aware that the drop deadline is approaching. It is important that they discus this with their pre-major advisor.||Remind advisees that drop deadline is coming up (October 7). Check in to see if advisees have any questions about life at Penn, classes, or academic resources. If you would like some help recommending academic resources to your advisees, please contact a peer manager. Remind them of Course and Majors Fair. Use Fall Email #6: Drop Deadline and Course and Majors Fair. Peer advisors should contact pre-major advisor to ensure any issues advisees are facing are communicated and to see how things are going.|
|Incoming students need to set up an appointment with their pre-major advisor to discuss course selection for the spring and have their registration hold removed.||Use Fall Email #7: Fall Advance Registration to remind advisees about how to choose courses on Penn in Touch, how to use Penn Course Review and Penn Course Notify, and provide tips on how to make a schedule. Remind advisees to set up appointment with pre-major advisor to get off of registration hold. Please note, Advance Registration lasts from October 28 to November 10.|
|Incoming students should be aware that the withdrawal deadline is approaching. It is important that they discsuss this with their pre-major advisor.||Relay to your advisees that withdrawal deadline is approaching (November 8). Determine if any of advisees are thinking of withdrawing from a course and refer to pre-major advisor for that discussion.|
|Incoming students will be taking finals for the first time as a College student.||Ask advisees how they are enjoying Penn so far and if any would like to meet and talk before finals. Use Fall Email #8: Preparing for Finals to see how the semester went and offer any thoughts about managing time and workload during finals.|