College student success is highly credited to both student to student and tutor to student mentoring. With the increasing adoption of online learning worldwide, mentoring has never been a more desirable strategy for student success.
Student peer mentoring has been found to have several benefits including; having a positive impact on the traditional indicators of student success such as credits earned, average GPA, and retention. It also helps students to adjust well to their areas of study as well as find satisfaction with their new colleges.
For a new-to-college undergraduate, student peer mentoring is especially helpful since it aids in helping them adjust to the new and complex university life.
Advantages of Peer Mentoring:
The advantages of student peer mentoring are threefold, and we analyze them in terms of cost, availability, and effectiveness.
● Student peer mentoring is generally not as expensive as tutor-student or faculty member-student mentorship.
Universities employ peer-to-peer mentoring as a cheaper alternative for student retention as well as higher pass rates. Costs involved in student peer mentoring may include but are not limited to; staffing- which involves getting individuals to coordinate the program, the IT infrastructure to use, mentee recruitment, recruitment and training of mentors, mentee activities, general administration costs, and evaluation of the exercise. Colleges find it less expensive to compensate peer mentors through incentives that appeal to the mentors. Such incentives may include; credits, and textbook scholarships. These incentives are generally cheaper than full-time employee salaries and benefits.
● Availability of potential mentors.
It is easier for colleges to find experienced students willing to mentor other students than it is to find faculty members. This is because students are generally more in terms of numbers than tutors or faculty members on any campus, and has nothing to do with commitment. Faculty members have multiple job demands that make it difficult to join student mentoring programs.
● Student peer mentors are more effective than faculty member mentors because of perspective.
It’s easier for the peers to relate at a peer level, and discuss issues at a depth that a faculty member may not be able to attain. Also, they get to use a language that they both understand and are comfortable with hence better results.
However, it’s important to note that much as what has been discussed above alludes mainly to academics, student success goes beyond academics and encompasses their entire college life and experience. Peer to peer mentoring and faculty member to student mentoring both emphasize this, which helps the mentee gain a richer college experience.