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Advising Peer Mentors Aid Academic Success
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Written By:  Amy Bennis-Kimball

The Office of Academic Advising is launching a new peer mentoring program that will provide first-year students with an additional layer of support as they transition to campus life at USciences.

Advising Peer Mentors will provide advice and referral information on issues such as connecting with the campus, making friends, dealing with homesickness, and adjusting to the rigors of college academics. 

"We want to give incoming students access to one of their greatest sources of support: their peers," said Julie Carney-Jones, professional academic advisor and one of the peer mentor program coordinators. "This program will assist first-year students as they acclimate to the social and academic environment at USciences by pairing them with select upperclass students (Peer Mentors) who are familiar with this process because they have gone through it themselves."

The Advising Peer Mentor program will debut in fall 2013 to incoming first-year students advised in the Office of Academic Advising who indicate an interest in being paired with a Peer Mentor. Throughout the fall semester, mentors and mentees will meet regularly to discuss concerns and engage in activities on and off campus.

The Peer Mentor selection process is currently underway. All interested upperclass students are encouraged to apply. The deadline to submit an application is March 29, 2013. See the Advising Peer Mentor program website for details.

Ideal candidates must be:

  • A second-, third-, or fourth-year student at USciences
  • In good academic standing at the University with at least a 2.8 GPA
  • Interested in developing lasting relationships with fellow students

"This program provides a great opportunity, not just for incoming students, but for upperclassmen as well," said Joseph Canaday, director of academic advising. “Peer Mentors will receive training in communication, effective referrals, problem-solving and professional conduct–skills that are valuable in every program. As Peer Mentors, these students are able to give back to the University community by serving as role models to first year students."

When first-year students have positive interactions with a mentor who is both a friend and role model, it boosts both their motivation and chance of academic success. The Advising Peer Mentor program will support new students in meeting their educational and professional goals my making their college experiences more encouraging and rewarding.

"These students are supporting each other in ways that faculty and staff can’t always do," said Carney-Jones. "Ultimately, our goal here is student success. If new students have positive experiences in their first year, they are more likely to be academically and personally successful. This program leverages the power of peer support as a gateway to this success."

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