This paper is aimed at those interested in the promotion of student retention in higher education; particularly those with an interest in peer mentoring as a means of student support. It critically discusses the results of an exploratory study analysing the perceptions of peer mentors and mentees within five universities in the United Kingdom. The aim of the study was to analyse how student peer mentoring can aid transition into university by focusing specifically on how senior students can support their junior counterparts in their first year at university. The paper discusses the results of a survey which was completed by 329 student peer mentors and mentees. Focusing on the benefits and outcomes of participation in Mentoring Programmes, the survey was distinctive in that it asked mentors and mentees similar questions. From a theoretical perspective, the paper contributes to debates about peer support in higher education showing that participation in such programmes can have positive outcomes from both social and pedagogic perspectives. Practically speaking, the results have important implications for Higher Education Institutions as the research highlights the importance of putting into place formally structured Peer Mentoring Programmes which facilitate student support at a time when new students are most at risk of ‘dropping out’.
Bibliographical note© Clark, R., Andrews, J., & Gorman, P., 2013. The definitive, peer reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Widening participation and lifelong learning, 14, Winter 2012-13, 57-75, 2013 http://dx.doi.org/10.5456/WPLL.14.S.57
- peer mentoring
- student experience