How Peer Mentoring Can Help Universities Promote Student Success in a Post-COVID19 Pandemic World


  • Peter Collier Portland State University



peer mentoring, COVID-19, student success


The COVID-19 pandemic and fallout from universities’ pandemic response efforts has made the adjustment to college more complex for new students. This is particularly true for students who lack familiarity with how college works. In addition to student adjustment issues, new pandemic-related issues include a greater risk for information overload, problematic access to technology and the Internet, more complicated decision making, greater difficulty in recognizing relevant resources and effective strategies for addressing specific issues, and difficulties in responding to issues that take different forms in remote or hybrid learning contexts. Peer mentoring can help. Informed by interviews with university faculty, program coordinators, and support staff, this article identifies the peer mentoring qualities that make it a useful tool for helping universities respond to issues associated with the pandemic. Mentors provide personal connections to the university, have proximate experience for a post-pandemic university context, are seen as credible sources for messaging, and provide accurate standards of social comparison with regards to strategies for success. The article also suggests tips for universities to set up peer mentoring programs to assist students in post-pandemic contexts.

Author Biography

Peter Collier, Portland State University

Peter J. Collier is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Portland State University and the director/principal investigator of Dr. Peter J. Collier Consulting, a research shop that provides design and evaluation support for college student mentoring programs.  Dr. Collier has extensive experience in developing and implementing peer-mentoring programs targeting first-generation, international and other under-represented group college students.  His most recent book is Developing Effective Student Peer Mentoring Programs: A Practioner’s Guide to Program Design, Delivery, Evaluation and Training, published by Stylus Press, Sterling, VA.  


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