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Undergraduate Program for Advancing Learning (UPAL)

UPAL will run remotely this spring quarter, and can help you connect to peers during COVID-19, while providing guidance on study strategies for remote learning! All registered students will receive information on how to connect via Zoom.

See our current UPAL flyer!

The Undergraduate Program for Advancing Learning (UPAL) promotes Northwestern undergraduates' academic wellness. In UPAL, students engage in supportive small groups, with peer mentors, to fine-tune their academic strategies, gain tools for balancing academics with other facets of life, and navigate the academic path in ways that work for each individual.

How do I join?

You can register for UPAL on CAESAR, just as you would a traditional course. Search for "GEN_LA 160," choose any section that fits your schedule, and follow the instructions in "Notes." Registration for spring quarter is open from March 30 - April 9, 12pm Central. If you don't find a time that works for you, or if you have any questions about UPAL, reach out to us! Sessions start on April 11.

Meet our mentors

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

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
Kandace Webb photo

What happens in UPAL?

UPAL participants meet for one hour weekly over 7 weeks of a quarter, in small groups with peer mentors, at locations and times that fit their schedules. Sessions are relaxed and upbeat, and offer valuable information to help students master Northwestern's learning environment and persist when they stumble — as everybody does! — along the way. UPAL supports students in reflecting on their habits and approaches, identifying what is working well and what needs fine-tuning, and setting a solid course for navigating the academic path ahead.

What topics are covered?

  • Learning remotely during COVID-19
  • "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


Reach out to us!

I would definitely recommend UPAL — there is nothing to lose and all to gain. I loved my group so much that I decided to become a mentor, so I could help create a supportive community for others. ”

Shane Persaud, class of 2022, Economics

Shane Persaud photo

UPAL gave me the tools and resources I needed to feel confident about succeeding at Northwestern! It not only helped improve my academic habits, but also improved my overall mindset. ”

Klaudia Konieczny, Global Health, Class of 2020