The Benefits of Academically Oriented Peer Mentoring for At-Risk Student Populations
Keywords:academic performance, at-risk students, belonging, retention, peer mentoring, student engagement
This article examines an academically oriented peer-mentoring program at St. John’s University. The program targeted at-risk first-year students who were having difficulty making the transition to college and matched them with trained student mentors within their major discipline. In addition to meeting with one another bi-weekly, all of the students came together for a series of organized events over the course of the academic year. The goals of the program were that mentees would (1) feel an increased sense of belonging at the university, (2) raise their GPAs, and (3) show improved retention to the second year. After examining how successful the program was relative to these goals, the authors recommend some best practices for peer-mentoring programs. These recommendations are based on both features of the program in the study that contributed to its success and areas where the program could have been improved based on the results.
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