Peer Mentors are an integral component of the First Year Seminar (FYS) experience. Peer Mentors are upper class students who co-teach the FYS classes with faculty members. They meet with students outside of class formally and informally to talk with students about how to plan their academics, manage their time, talk with professors, and navigate their social and academic life. Peer Mentors can introduce first year students to college services, talk with them about roommate concerns, tell them how to best utilize their advisors, talk about living in the residence halls, making friends, where to exercise, and how to join clubs or student government. Peer mentors attempt to establish relationships with their mentees very early on in the first semester and will continue to serve as a student mentor throughout their mentees’ first year.
Peer mentors are nominated by faculty and staff based on their academic achievements, level of maturity, trustworthiness, responsibility, and interpersonal skills. They go through a selection process and then a year long training program that involves completing workshops and course work in order to become effective mentors and student advocates.
Students who have taken FYS report that Peer Mentors provide a unique benefit to the FYS course. They find that Peer Mentors are especially helpful in their transition to college, reporting that Peer Mentors are able to bring the perspective of students who have recently gone through the same experiences and know first hand the challenges new students face when arriving at College. They are students who have faced the same challenges and have succeeded academically and socially.
Peer mentors can:
- Introduce students to college services
- Introduce students to college activities, clubs and organizations
- Help students understand and prepare for the academic and social demands of college life
- Provide students with help with time management and communication with faculty and advisors
- Help students develop a sense of community