Why peer mentoring is an effective approach for promoting college student success
Both hierarchical (e.g. student-faculty member or student-adviser) and peer (e.g. student-student) mentoring are recognized as best-practice strategies for promoting college student success. Formal mentoring programs utilizing both approaches can be found on many campuses. In the current institutional context of scarce or stagnant resources, college and university presidents and administrators face the challenge of determining which mix of programs to support even though little comparative research on the effectiveness of these approaches exists. This article examines three characteristics of a peer mentoring approach that encourage its greater use. The first two characteristics, cost and the availability of a larger number of potential mentors, relate to concerns about the efficient use of resources. The third characteristic, development of a common perspective, relates to questions concerning the relative effectiveness of different mentoring approaches. Peer mentors and mentees are more likely than participants in hierarchical mentoring relationships to share a common perspective with regards to how they understand and enact the college student role. Differences in perspective impact the process of student identity acquisition, perceived mentor credibility, and the likelihood of mentees following their mentors’ advice. Higher education researchers are urged to conduct studies exploring the relative effectiveness of both approaches and how to best combine approaches in complimentary ways to help administrators make informed decisions.
Angelique, H., Kyle, K. & Taylor, E. (2002). Mentors and muses: new strategies for academic success, Innovative Higher Education, 26, 195–209 https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017968906264
Brown, M. C., Davis, G. L., & McClendon, S. A. (1999). Mentoring graduate students of color: Myths, models, and modes. Peabody Journal of Education, 74(2), 105–118. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327930pje7402_9
Bunting, B., Dye, B., Pinnegar, S., & Robinson, K. (2012). Understanding the dynamics of peer mentor learning: A narrative study. Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition , 24 (1), 61–78.
Burke, P.J. (1991). 'Attitudes, behavior, and the self'. In Howard, J. A. and Callero, P. L. (eds.). The Self Society Interface: Cognition, Emotion, and Action. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 189-208 https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511527722.011
Campbell, T. A., & Campbell, D. E. (1997). Faculty/student mentor program: Effects on academic performance and retention. Research in Higher Education, 38, 727-742. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024911904627
Cerna, O., Platania, C., & Fong, K. (2012). Leading by Example: A Case Study of Peer Leader Programs at Two Achieving the Dream Colleges. MDRC Paper. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2010239
Collier, P. J. (2015). Developing effective student peer mentoring programs: A practitioner’s guide to program design, delivery, evaluation, and training. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
Collier, P. J. & Morgan, D.(2008). "Is That Paper Really Due Today? Differences in First-Generation and Traditional College Students' Understandings of Faculty Members' Class-Related Expectations," Higher Education, Vol. 55 Issue 4, p. 425-446 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-007-9065-5
Collin’s English Dictionary (2015). Retrieved from
Colvin, J.W. & Ashman M. (2010), Roles, Risks, and Benefits of Peer Mentoring Relationships in Higher Education, Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning ,Vol. 18, No. 2, 121–134 https://doi.org/10.1080/13611261003678879
Crisp, G. & Cruz, I. (2009). Mentoring College Students: A Critical Review of the Literature Between 1990 and 2007, Review of Educational Research, 50:525–545 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-009-9130-2
Davidson, M., & Foster-Johnson, L. (2001). Mentoring in the preparation of graduate students of color. Review of Educational Research, 71(4), 549–574. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543071004549
Ferrari, J. R. (2004). Mentors in life and at school: impact on undergraduate prote´ ge´ perceptions of university mission and values. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 12(3), 295-305. https://doi.org/10.1080/030910042000275909
Hovland, C., Janis, I., & Kelley, H. (1953). Communication and persuasion. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Kram, K. E. (1983). Phases of the mentor relationship. Academy of Management journal, 26(4), 608-625. Brown https://doi.org/10.2307/255910
Kram, K. & Isabella, L. (1985). Mentoring alternatives: the role of peer relationships in career development, Academy of Management Journal, 28, 110–132. https://doi.org/10.2307/256064
Lev, L., Kolassa, J. & Bakken, L. (2010). Faculty mentors’ and students’ perceptions of students’ research self-efficacy, Nurse Education Today 30, 169–174 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2009.07.007
McGinnies, E., & Ward, C. (1980). Better liked than right: Trustworthiness and expertise as factors in credibility. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,6, 467-472 https://doi.org/10.1177/014616728063023
Minor, F.D. (2007). Building Effective Peer Mentoring Programs, Evergreeen College, www.evergreen.edu/.../lcsa4building.pdf
Palmer, R.J., Hunt, A.N., Neal, M. & Wuetherick, B. (2015). Mentoring, Undergraduate Research, and Identity Development: A Conceptual Review and Research Agenda, Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 23:5, 411-426, https://doi.org/10.1080/13611267.2015.1126165
Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: a third decade of research (San Francisco, Jossey-Bass).
Pornpitakan, C. (2006). The Persuasiveness of Source Credibility: A Critical Review of Five Decades' Evidence, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2004, 34,2, pp. 243-281.
Ruthkosky, P., & Castano, S. (2007). First-Year Peer Mentoring Helps Ease Student Transition to College, E-Source for College Transitions, 5(1), 6-9.
Schunk, D. H., & Usher, E. L. (2013). Barry J Zimmerman’s theory of self-regulated learning. In H. Bembenutty, T. J. Cleary, & A. Kitsantas (Eds.), Applications of self-regulated learning across diverse disciplines: A tribute to Barry J Zimmerman (pp. 1–28). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.
Stryker, S. (1968). Identity salience and role performance: The relevance of symbolic interaction theory for family research. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 558-564. https://doi.org/10.2307/349494
Tenenbaum, H. R., Crosby, F. J., & Gliner, M. D. (2001). Mentoring relationships in graduate school. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59(3), 326-341. https://doi.org/10.1006/jvbe.2001.1804
Terrion, J., and D. Leonard. (2007). A taxonomy of the characteristics of student peer mentors in higher education: Findings from a literature review. Mentoring & Tutoring 15: 149–64. https://doi.org/10.1080/13611260601086311
Copyright to works published in Metropolitan Universities is retained by the author(s).