The value of student mentoring programs in tertiary education

by frank-stuart

It can be quite daunting starting tertiary study. Of all educational transitions, this is the hardest. Often people relocate away from home to undertake the program of their choice in a University in another city. The move itself can be quite stressful let alone getting used to the academic and social pressures and freedoms associated with student life at University. That’s why student mentoring programs are a valuable service to students of any higher education facility.

What is mentoring?

“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be”, according to the Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring.

What is a mentor in a tertiary context?

A mentor in University is more than a role model. An effective mentor will help you navigate through the pressures of University life and assist you identify and realise your unique potential.

Benefits of a student mentor program in Higher Education

Many first year students find the transition from high school to University difficult, and it’s nice to have the support of a person who cares about you and has been through the same challenges and lived to tell the tale. Having someone there to turn to when all you have questions is really helpful in that first year of University life.

A mentor can assist you in making connections in your new community and point you in the direction of social groups and special interest groups that may appeal to you. Your mentor can also guide you from an academic perspective. Their knowledge of how the tertiary system works within your University’s context can be helpful in navigating challenges and taking up opportunities along your path of tertiary study.

A student mentoring program will also give you the opportunity to socialise with other people in the program. Programs often arrange fun social events and gatherings that bring mentors and “mentees” together a setting other than educational, enabling the bonds of friendship to bud and flourish.

Some Universities go to great lengths to make sure that the mentoring relationship is a strong one, by matching the mentor with a person, based on commonalities such as chosen field of study, personal interests, hobbies etc., so if nothing else, you will have a friend you can rely on in your mentor.

Benefits for Mentors

Mentoring not only benefits the mentee, the mentor also gains a lot from the experience. Mentors are given the opportunity to be of service and support to another individual. By accepting to be a mentor, you accept that you can make a difference to another individual’s life and progress.

Benefits to the Community

The tertiary institutions that have implemented student mentor programs also benefit in that a greater sense of community is brought about by the program. New students are better equipped to deal with the transition into University life and as a result, student engagement improves.

Student mentoring programs make figuring out University life easier. Be sure to talk to Universities which you are considering in order to see if they have a student mentor program that could assist you chart your transition into university life.

ACPE offers a range of student services for new students starting out including a student mentoring program.

Visit ACPE website for more information >

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