For Peer Advisors

Apply to become a Peer Advisor

Applications will be available here between December 1, 2019 and February 1, 2020.

Selected students will be trained by the College Office. For answers to questions about peer advising, please contact Dr. Niel McDowell.

your advisees and their pre-major advisors


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.

College upperclass students apply to be peer advisors and are then selected and trained by the College Office. The peer advising program is coordinated by Dr. Niel McDowell 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.
  • Junior and Senior peer advisors also serve as MAP advisors. MAP allows first-year and sophomore students to contact declared majors and learn about the major from a student’s perspective.

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

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.

Incoming-Student Steps

Peer Advisor Steps

  Mandatory meetings:
  • Attend the peer advisor spring training.
  • Meet with your assigned pre-major advisor to make an “action plan” for summer advising.

Engage with Compass, the primary guide for incoming students throughout the summer.


Engage with Compass, the primary guide for incoming students throughout the summer.

Be in touch with a peer manager if you are having trouble communicating with your advisees or pre-major advisor.
June 13: 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 Email Template #1. Help advisees plan the initial appointment with the pre-major advisor and Advance Registration. Follow up on the first day of Advance Registration (June 24) using Email Template #2.
Use Compass to: Review Compass. Call or skype students:
  • Remind them to complete the steps to the left.
  • Remind advisees about Advance Registration, June 24 to July 19.
  • Provide advice for choosing classes based on your experience with Advance Registration and Penn In Touch.

Check in with pre-major advisor concerning the status of advisee appointments and Advance Registration.

Check their schedule on Penn InTouch. Use Email Template #3 to check in with advisees about their schedules. These should be available for viewing and changing in late July.
In Compass: Explain plans for Welcome to the College and Campus Using Email Template #4.
Late August
First-Year Student Move-in: Attend a Welcome to the College session. Attend NSO training (tentative date August 25). Meet advisees for Welcome to the College and peer advising activity (tentative date August 26).

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).

Incoming-Student Steps

Peer Advisor Steps

Incoming students should be aware that the add deadline is approaching. Remind advisees that add deadline is approaching (September 16). Use email template #5 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 email template #6. 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 email template #7 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 email template #8 to see how the semester went and offer any thoughts about managing time and workload during finals.
Videos for Incoming Students

Incoming students are encouraged to view these videos as an introduction to academic life in the College. Peers are encouraged to view them and suggest their advisees do the same.

Videos Introducing Resource Centers

These short videos will introduce you to some of the academic and support resources available to students in the College.