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Sustained Small-Group Mentoring

The Undergraduate Program for Advancing Learning (UPAL)

The Undergraduate Program for Advancing Learning (UPAL) gives Northwestern undergrads key resources and mentoring for navigating their academic paths.

Through their interactions with fellow participants and peer mentors, students in UPAL develop connections with a wide range of peers who bring a variety of interests and experiences — but who share a desire to continuously improve and help others do the same.

The program runs each quarter.

Sessions focus on topics such as:

  • "Smart studying" for optimal learning
  • Interacting productively with faculty
  • Managing time and academic stress
  • Recovering smoothly from academic setbacks
  • Staying focused on learning in a competitive environment
Kandace Webb

As a first-year student, I participated in UPAL and acquired valuable study skills as well as knowledge of the various academic resources on campus.  UPAL aided in my academic success that year, inspiring me to later become a UPAL mentor and aid in the success of others.”

Kandace Webb, Psychology & Legal Studies, Class of 2018

UPAL participants meet for one hour weekly throughout a quarter, in small groups with peer mentors, to discover keys to academic success at Northwestern. Sessions are relaxed and fun, and offer valuable information to help you master Northwestern's learning environment — and persist when you stumble (as everybody does!) along the way. UPAL participants also gain knowledge of Northwestern's many academic-support and enrichment resources, and have opportunities to build the networks that are critical to making the most of the Northwestern academic experience.

UPAL helps you learn straightforward things you can do every day to help you create a more solid path toward achieving your goals. I still remember and use the time-management techniques I learned in the program three years ago!”

Maria Laura Leon, Psychology, Global Health minor, class of 2018

Maria Laura Leon


Meet our mentors

Read about each of the UPAL mentors on the meet the mentors page.

Questions about UPAL?

Send us an email for more information.