Can Peer Mentors Improve First-Year Experiences of University Students?

The effectiveness of a peer-mentoring program was examined at a university in California. Previous studies suggest university peer mentoring might increase students' feelings of engagement, which can contribute to their retention. Pretest and posttest data were collected from 304 freshmen (mentored and nonmentored) during the fall of 2012 in a quasi-experimental design. Results indicated mentored students felt significantly more integrated and connected to their university at the end of their first semester compared with nonmentored students. Mentees also provided qualitative responses about what they found beneficial and what they felt could be improved in the program. Results suggested peer mentoring helped the students feel more integrated and supported at college, which might reinforce their persistence toward graduating.