Peer Mentorship

Have you ever wondered what your freshmen year experience would be like if you had someone that guided you when you stepped onto campus for the first time?

In Fall 2013, Student Support Services (SSS) launched its pilot Peer Mentorship Program, a year-long volunteer program that is designed to provide mentorship and guidance for first-generation freshmen who may not have the support system in other areas of their lives. SSS upperclassman and Peer Mentor, Victor Mensah, approached the office with the idea that, perhaps one’s personal experience would be different if freshmen students had a mentor to steer them away from common “rookie” mistakes such as time and money management, handling stress, taking care of one’s mental and physical health, registration for classes and academic development.

Peer Mentor Program Mission

The mission of Student Support Services Peer Mentor Program is to foster academic excellence among first-year college students. The goal of the peer mentors is to support their student mentees, and increase their knowledge about resources which may help them succeed in college. A part of a support team, peer mentors encourage first-year students to embrace college life; while recognizing the importance of overcoming the many demands in order to successfully pursue their academic goals.

Program Description and Overview

The Peer Mentor program through SSS was piloted in the Fall of 2013 and fully implemented in 2014 to help better prepare the first-year students for a rich and rewarding college career. SSS Peer Mentors aim to provide a “personal peer connection,” through mentorship and guidance for first-generation freshmen students who may not have the support system in other areas of their lives. Additionally, they foster a community of scholars who achieve academic excellence and avoid common mistakes by creating a relationship between incoming students and upperclassmen mentors. The role of the Peer Mentor is to empower student development and transition of first-year SSS Scholars to the University through direct student outreach, and facilitate programs and support services to enhance student retention and persistence through graduation – the intent to recommend strategies for student success and program progression. The Peer Mentor must exercise a high level of judgment, patience, and understanding in supporting peer mentees. He/she must also ensure that all mentees are connected to SSS and RU-1st services and adhere to the program/University rules and regulations. This role also entails fostering and building appropriate relationships between student participants and program staff.