SOAR Mentoring is a peer mentoring program designed to provide support and guidance to TRIO Upward Bound (UB) bridge students as they transition from high school to college. Bridge students are recent high school graduates who will be enrolling in a postsecondary institution in the upcoming fall semester. The purpose of the program is to give UB’s recent high school graduates greater assistance and resources to make decisions regarding his/her academics and college life. The UB students are paired with a TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) student during UB’s six- week summer program starting in June. During the summer mentors will be required to meet with their mentees at least once a week on campus. SSS mentors will use their personal experience, knowledge, and resources to provide guidance and feedback while helping to support the personal growth and development of their mentees. Once the summer is completed SSS mentors will continue to help their mentees navigate their first year of college by having monthly check-ins either in-person or virtually.
The Importance of Peer Mentoring
As a pre-college program, we want to give our students the tools and resources to succeed in their post-secondary education. Having our students participate in a peer mentoring program has been proven through dozens of research studies to lead to higher self-confidence, better GPAs, and an increased skillset in persisting in and completing postsecondary education. The research that inspired the SOAR Program is Stephens, Hamedani, and Destin’s Closing the Social-Class Achievement Gap: A Difference-Education Intervention Improves First-Generation Students’ Academic Performance and All Students’ College Transition study.
This persuasive body of research demonstrates the effectiveness of collaboration between upper-level college students and first-generation incoming freshmen. Included in the research is the significant role that peer mentors play in first-generation students’ academic success in college. The study showed that first-generation students who were mentored by peers who have similar backgrounds as they decrease the social-class achievement gap by 63%. First-generation students who participated in the study had a higher GPA than did first-generation students who did not participate in the mentoring program. Having a peer mentor exposed students to strategies that students with similar backgrounds to them used to overcome obstacles. This lead to them experiencing less stress and anxiety, adjusting better to college life, and being more academically and socially engaged than their peers who did not participate in the mentoring program.
If you would like to read the full study click here.
Benefits of Peer Mentoring
If you have any questions about the program please contact Martika Jacobs (Martika.Jacobs@unt.edu).