Peer mentoring: Supporting successful transition for first year undergraduate psychology students

Authors


Correspondence: Andrea Chester, PhD, MA, Grad Dip Couns Psych, BA, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne, Vic. 3001, Australia. Email: andrea.chester@rmit.edu.au

Abstract

This article examines the effectiveness of a mentoring programme supporting the transition of first year psychology students. The programme, in which third year students worked with small groups of first year students within tutorials, was developed to enhance five aspects associated with student success (capability, connectedness, resourcefulness, purpose, and culture), encourage deep and strategic learning approaches, and build psychological literacy. The programme was implemented across the first year of the undergraduate programme at a metropolitan Australian university, and 241 first year students (166 females and 65 males) provided data for the evaluation study. Significant positive change was noted on three of the five aspects of student success, with an increase in deep and strategic learning approaches and a decrease in surface learning. Significant change was reported for six of the nine psychological literacies. Compared with previous cohorts, grades also showed a shift upwards, with a higher proportion of final grades in the range between 60% and 80%. Together, these findings suggest that proactive interventions in the first semester of first year can enhance important aspects of learning and increase success for undergraduate psychology students. Recommendations for amendments to the mentoring programme, particularly surrounding its use with mature age students, are discussed.

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