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Tackling Transition: The Value of Peer Mentoring

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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’.
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Keywords: belonging; peer mentoring; peer support; retention; success; transition

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2013

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  • The journal is based on the belief that there are neglected links between research and theory, and policy and practice in the promotion of widening participation in post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. It aims to provide a forum for the development of theory, the addressing of policy questions and the dissemination of innovative practice in the field of widening participation and lifelong learning.
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