Peer-to-peer support

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Looking at community college peer mentoring programs.

Peer mentoring at community colleges can enhance the student success experience, for both mentees and their mentors. When students talk with other students, it can be more informal than when a student meets with a counselor or faculty member. And that can lead to more openness.

At College of DuPage in Illinois, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion students through the Inclusive Excellence Peer Mentoring Program (IEPM). Continuing students help first-year students develop a path of success and learn about resources available at the college.

IEPM also provides training, workshops, guest speakers, and an interactive support network.

“The mentee benefits from this experience because of the ‘belonging’ factor that comes from knowing they have peer support on campus who provides wise insight, academic encouragement and help with life skills,” David Swope, manager of student diversity and inclusion, said in a release. “The mentor benefits through their service, which improves their leadership skills while making them more aware of their own academic and social achievements.”

Trained mentors also received a stipend award.

Connect 4 Success (C4S) at Arizona’s Mesa Community College pairs students for one-on-one mentoring sessions with no agendas or set goals. Mentees are encouraged to question, share and explore ideas. The peer mentors are students who have benefited from C4S.

C4S also utilizes faculty mentors.

The Peer Mentoring Program at Guttman Community College (New York) is an “integral component of the academic and co-curricular student experience,” according to the website. Peer mentors help ease the transition from high school to college, and coach students through their continued educational career while at Guttman.

The peer mentors’ primary responsibilities include giving tours of the college, responding to student questions and providing focused academic support. There are four types of peer mentors: Admissions & Access Peer Mentor; First Year Experience (FYE) Peer Mentor; Meet-Up Peer Mentor; and Transfer Peer Mentor.

Elsewhere in New York, Tompkins Cortland Community College’s Vector Network provides mentorship and support for first-generation students, socio-economic disadvantaged students, and students from historically underrepresented groups. Peer mentors, who undergo specialized training, offer social, academic and philosophical support to student mentees.

Does your college offer peer-to-peer mentoring? Sound off at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.