Mission statement

The Prepare Achieve Lead Succeed (PALS) mentor program provides support services to assist historically underrepresented students with a successful academic and social transition to Cornell College.


The purpose of this program is to assist the College in maintaining consistent student of color and international student enrollment with a focus on retention and graduation by providing students with a support system that is based on a one-on-one interactive relationship between new and returning students. Returning students in the PALS program are paired with new students to provide assistance, encouragement, practical experiences and insight they have gained while at Cornell College.

PALS help new students by:

  • Mentoring self identified students of color, underrepresented students, first generation college students, and international students.
  • Assisting with retention by creating a support system away from home.
  • Providing a friendly, nurturing environment to new students.
  • Aiding new students with their transition to Cornell College culture, Mount Vernon, and the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids Corridor area.
  • Helping students get involved on campus. 
  • Building friendship and good rapport between new and returning students. 
  • Providing academic and social support.
  • Sharing best practices on time management and study skills on the block plan. 
  • Mentors providing mentees with insight into the academic workings of Cornell College.
  • Encouraging new students to have a voice on campus and be active in their college experience through leadership roles. 
  • Discussing cultural, diversity, and inclusion issues.
  • Addressing personal and interpersonal concerns. 

Role of a peer mentor

Peer Mentors will act as peer advisors to their mentees. They will discuss issues, concerns, difficulties their mentee is experiencing. Mentors will be responsible for establishing supportive relationships with participating new students. Mentors will serve as role models to new students by maintaining high academic standards.


The benefits of having a peer mentor are:

  • A friendly face on campus
  • Gain insight into Cornell College campus life
  • Meet new people and be involved in what's going on
  • Receive encouragement and support to stay in focus with your studies
  • Someone to discuss personal and interpersonal concerns

Contact us at intercultural_life@cornellcollege.edu if you're interested in becoming a mentor or connecting with a mentor.