Advising & Support


Each Oberlin student has an academic advisor to help make the most of his or her Oberlin education. First-year and transfer students are assigned an advisor in one of their areas of interest; once they choose a major, however, they must select a faculty advisor within that department.

The amount of time that students spend with their advisors can vary greatly - some students do research with their advisors and have coffee regularly, while other students meet with their advisors only once per semester to talk about future class schedules and progress toward graduation. Conservatory students are usually advised by their private teacher; double-degree students have two advisors, one in the College and one in the Conservatory.

In addition to academic advisors, Oberlin has several additional structures in place to make sure that students receive the advice and guidance they need. Each incoming class has a Class Dean who travels with them through their four years at Oberlin (fifth-year students and beyond have their own special Class Dean). The Class Deans are available in times of crisis and to help coordinate the different offices that provide support to students, such as the Office of the Dean of Studies, Student Health, the Counseling Center, Oberlin College Dialogue Center, and Residential Education. Each first-year student is also assigned an Academic Ambassador, a third- or fourth-year student who helps advise a small group of first-years during orientation and throughout their first year at Oberlin.

First-generation college students arriving at Oberlin also receive guidance in the form of the Peer Liaison program. Being the first in one's family to attend college can be a challenging experience, so upperclass students of similar backgrounds help new students to adjust to the cultural and intellectual challenges that college life presents.

Another resource available to students is the newly-created Roadmap - a guide to learning as much as possible in one's short time here. The Roadmap places a major emphasis on reflection and identifies major themes for four years of academic life at Oberlin. Year One: Explore. Year Two: Connect. Year Three: Deepen. Year Four: Develop independence. This document condenses the advice of many faculty, administrators, and staff to help students take full advantage of the learning opportunities inside and outside the Oberlin classroom.

You'll find additional information on the Dean of Studies website.

Blog Entries Related To This Topic:

So You Want to Go into Public Radio

posted by Samantha Smylie '17 | I love podcasts and public radio. Since my second year at Oberlin, I've been trying to figure out how to make podcasts and get a job in the field. Here are some resources that I've found and some tips that I would like to share about radio at Oberlin.

Second-Year Silver Linings

posted by Celina Kobetitsch '19 | A reflection on this rollercoaster of a semester.

Moving Forward

posted by Kameron Dunbar '19 | Shattered, but I'm not broken.

Re-Learning to Raise My Hand, with Guidance from Shia LaBeouf

posted by Jules Greene '19 | In the very beginning of the semester, I barely raised my elbow off the table when I had something to say, and when I realized my professors weren't calling on me probably because they couldn't see my hand, I adopted a new philosophy for class participation.

An Open Letter to My First-Year Self

posted by Kameron Dunbar '19 | No, this is not The Odyssey Online.

When It All Fell Apart

posted by El Wilson '18 | In which my world falls apart at a very inconvenient time.

The Trials and Triumphs of Freshman Year [feat. DJ Khaled]

posted by Jules Greene '19 | My adjustment disorder was something unforeseeable, but the experience of overcoming it has only made me hardier and better experienced. More importantly, it gave me an incredibly powerful motivation to succeed in everything that I do.

35 Notes on Burnout & Healing

posted by Alexandria Cunningham '16 | When it comes to being a college student and experiencing exhaustion, there is a lot of similarity across experience but general silence around what to (proactively) do about it. So let's talk!

Sometimes College Isn't Great

posted by Emma Davey '18 | Talking about my icky feelings in a pretty personal blog post may not make for a fun read, but I hope I can shed some light on the realities of being a student here.

Dealing with Depression in College

posted by Celina Kobetitsch '19 | I believe that my depression has shaped me into a different person, a stronger person. Depression is not a weakness, and I don't think enduring it is anything but a testament to your own strength.

Letters To Sammie

posted by Samantha Smylie '17 | I'm sorry that this blog post is late. Whoops. I wrote a letter to myself because I feel that it is important to constantly look back at where I am at different time periods in my life. Maybe you guys should think about doing the same. :) Shout out to the Oberlin Class of 2015! CONGRATS!

Senior to Senior

posted by Alexandria Cunningham '16 | To the Class of 2015 graduating next week to the incoming Class of 2019, here are some words from one senior to another.

Support Is.......

posted by Samantha Smylie '17 | As a college student, everything is not just about academics. But those little things that harm you as a person will harm you as a student.

On Getting Help and Talking About It

posted by Emily Wilkerson '15 | In the words of former blogger/current friend Ida, "it's hard to talk about hard things!" I try to talk about them anyway.

Finals Drama and Holiday Goodies

posted by Samantha Smylie '17 | In this post, I will give some of my tips for survival during finals week and holiday goodies that I made with my family. I hope that you all had a wonderful break!

Fall 2014: Semester in Review

posted by Christie Krancer '18 | In which I look back on my experiences and thoughts during my first semester at college.

Ousting Grade Gloom

posted by Christie Krancer '18 | When your grades aren't what you want them to be, consider using these steps to achieve an effective emotional and mental recovery.

Back At It

posted by Alexandria Cunningham '16 | Getting back to the grind on campus entails a lot. Let's have a conversation about mental health and wellness, specifically for returning folks.

50 Pearls of Wisdom: Part Two

posted by Alexandria Cunningham '16 | An extended second edition of words to the wise about life, college and some useful takeaways for Oberlin and beyond.

Confessions of an Undergraduate Researcher

posted by Alexandria Cunningham '16 | So here's a bit about undergraduate research at Oberlin, some personal thoughts and some new directions for my own personal, community-engaged research.

50 Pearls of Wisdom: Part One

posted by Alexandria Cunningham '16 | College can be hard and since there is a new class of incoming students, I wanted to share some major advice, love and answers with you all before you come into Oberlin officially.

Why You Shouldn't Trust My Psych Project

posted by Ben Reid '16 | Here are some forms of academic support I take for granted every day as an Obie.

Ol' Father Time & I: Advice From the Halfway Line

posted by Alexandria Cunningham '16 | Let's unpack a big question: what did my college experience teach me? With the assistance of some food-for-thought quotations, let's explore how time, space and maturity interact to reveal things about ourselves.

3:5 Reflections on Another Semester Down

posted by Alexandria Cunningham '16 | FINALS ARE FINISHED!! Now it's time to think about the rest of college...

On Mentorship

posted by Ma'ayan Plaut '10 | Having some ideas about the mentorship opportunities while at Oberlin. They're complicated and awesome (like most things that involve people).

How to use an advisor

posted by Prof. Erik Inglis '89 | Building a better Polonius.

FAQ for Incoming First Years

posted by Dara Lehrer '16 | Do you have the pre-orientation jitters? Are you at all anxious to leave home and come live in a place you've probably never spent a formidable amount of time at before? Do not fear! I am here to try and alleviate some of that anxiety.

Ode to Professors

posted by Dara Lehrer '16 | I have had so many absolutely fantastic professors this year who have inspired me in all sorts of ways.

How (Not) to Declare a Major

posted by Eleanor Bronder-Major '15 | It's a necessary step! I handled mine really badly! This is why!

First Year Nerves

posted by Ruby Turok-Squire '16 | And why you should forget them.

Farewell to Oberlin, Part I

posted by Joe Dawson '12 | I like stories much more than I like lists, so here are four of them in two installments.

Dear Future Oberlin Freshman...

posted by Paul Buser '15 | Through my own personal failings, it is my wish that you will become enriched with wisdom.

Ten Things I Wish I'd Known: Outside the Classroom

posted by Ruby Saha '14 | Part II in my little pearls-of-wisdom series. Thanks again to everyone who contributed. Enjoy!

Ten Things I Wish I'd Known: Inside the Classroom

posted by Ruby Saha '14 | To be fair to my parents, they did tell me most of this, but it was easy to dismiss their experiences as being far removed from my own. As your peer, I hope that this will be useful to you and will help you to put yourself in the right frame of mind for what you should expect come September, without feeling overwhelmed.

Open Letter

posted by Christine Chang '13 | To the Class of 2015: a list of minor and not-so-minor regrets I have that I hope you won't. (It's really not that bad, and you'll survive perfectly well even if you completely ignore this list.) Love, Christine.

THE Professor List

posted by Chinwe Okona '13 | In Oberlin, I think professors are kinda like celebrities. And these are the ones I go goo-goo eyed over.

Applying to Grad School, Ch. 3

posted by Will Mason '10 | Getting in

Volunteers Reflect

posted by Prof. Steve Volk | So here's the deal. I'm looking for VOLUNTEERS. Students who would like to begin working on their own ePorfolios now. I provide you with access to an ePortfolio system, you use it (more instructions provided) and, every now and again, we get together to talk to other ePortfolio users about how it's going and what you're getting out of it (or not!).

Requirement Blues

posted by Prof. Sebastiaan Faber | What exactly should every Oberlin graduate know and be able to do by the time they walk up to the commencement stage? How do we know that she knows? And how do we make sure that her coursework allows her to actually learn it?


posted by Chinwe Okona '13 | Just so you have a little taste of what we're all going through.

Brief Thoughts on Orientation

posted by Will Mason '10 | I spent most of orientation waiting for it to be over.

Thinking about summer

posted by Zoë McLaughlin '11 | (To avoid thinking about more pressing matters. Like the work I have due tomorrow.)

And for the rest of January...

posted by Zoë McLaughlin '11 | It's not the traditional research position that biochem majors normally pursue, but then again, I'm not a typical biochem major.


posted by Joe Dawson '12 | Finals are all over, all praise due to NoDoze. My biggest hurdle was the paper for English I wrote on The Tempest.

Orientation: Best of Times?

posted by Aries Indenbaum '09 | Normally, Orientation is a crazy time, though no one agrees why. That said, this year feels different. These freshmen are just way too cool.

Liberal Arts Meets Big Business

posted by Daniel Tam-Claiborne '09 | In high school, due surely to a lack of adequate allowance, I sold cans of soda that I bought in bulk from Costco and kept stored in a portable cooler to students just coming out of gym class. It would follow that a lifetime's worth of amateur experience culminated in my participation in the Entrepreneurship Scholars program.

Registration: Woe?

posted by Ma'ayan Plaut '10 | Upon return to campus after spring break, students receive a pleasant reminder for fall registration. "What? This soon? I'm still slaving through a disastrous spring semester, everything is about to start moving twice as quickly as before, how could I even THINK of next fall?" you think.

Professor Plaut's Office Hours

posted by Ma'ayan Plaut '10 | Personally, I was completely terrified of the concept of office hours my freshman year. The professors were amazing and awesome and being in the same room as them one-on-one just seemed like a god-given experience, something not worthy of a lowly freshman. So, baby steps.

Just Enough Rope

posted by Will Mason '10 | It's been almost a year in the making, took a great deal of time, energy, and paperwork, and probably made more than a few staff members resent seeing my e-mails pop up in their inboxes, but this past week my independent major in the Conservatory was approved.

A week in the life

posted by Prof. David Walker '72 | Spring means life in the fast lane for faculty as well as students.

Oberlin College & Conservatory | Oberlin, Ohio 44074 | 440-775-8121 | College Admissions | Conservatory Admissions