Peer Academic Leaders

What is a Peer Academic Leader (PAL)?

A PAL is an upper-class student leadership role directly serving the first year community living on campus. Their purpose is to support the first year connection to William Paterson University by providing support in all aspects of development including academics, transition, and social engagement. While the PALs will primarily focus on supporting the academic goals of the learning communities to which they are assigned, they will also collaborate with residence life staff to promote a positive community and healthy living environment for first year resident students. 

What are the core responsibilities of the PAL position?

Learning Community Connections

PALs will work collaboratively with faculty and staff advisors for learning communities by assisting with promotion and implementation of events. They will serve as liaisons between residents and faculty and staff advisors and Residence Life staff.

Academic Support

PALs will promote an academic environment in the residence halls by hosting study halls and helping to enforce quiet hours. They will engage in regular conversations with students about academics and offer support as needed. They may offer a variety of opportunities to learn skills related to study skills, test taking tips and other academic related skill development. They will collaborate with the Academic Success Center to support tutoring, writing, and other academic service initiatives in the Residence Halls. They may also collaborate with Academic Advising and Career Services for academic planning, choosing a major, registration and career planning.

Community Building

PALs with promote positive interactions with students by proving opportunities for residents to engage with each other through social programs and collaborations with Resident Assistants in their community. Regular informal interactions with residents are expected, and may be in the form of casual conversations, attendance at events within the halls not hosted by a PAL, attending meals or other events on campus and an overall presence in the halls.

Transitional Support

PALs will assist in the first year student transition by providing opportunities for skill development in a variety of areas including, but not limited to: stress management, time management, conflict resolution, personal finance, independent and community living, goal setting, health and wellness, decision making, leadership and campus engagement, and life skills. While this type of outreach will occur throughout the year, the PALs will focus their efforts for first year student transition in the Seven Weeks to Success.

Who can be a PAL at WPU?

Before becoming a Peer Academic Leader, several qualifications need to be met.  PALs need to meet/have:

  • Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 and be in good academic, student conduct, and financial standing. While in the PAL position a cumulative and semester GPA of at least a 3.0 must be kept.
  • Applicants must be undergraduate students who are registered full-time and in good standing with the University Community and Office of Residence Life. 
  • Applicants must have sophomore, junior or senior class, with one full semester at William Paterson University.
  • Applicants may not hold the PAL position while also serving as a Resident Assistant (RA).

What are the benefits of being a PAL?

  • Gain valuable leadership experience and other job related skills to help prepare you for your future career. 
  • Get to know other students on campus and help to build a positive residential community.
  • All PALs are paid at an hourly rate and can work a maximum of 25 hours per week.

Sounds Great!  How do I apply?

All future selection processes will be advertised to the campus community via campus announcements, printed postings and the WPUNJ webpage. 


Please contact the Office of Residence Life at 973.720.2714.