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Peer Mentoring In UK Higher Education Roz Phillips Stirling University. Peer Mentoring – Background information. Peer Mentoring- Senior undergraduates guide and support incoming first year undergraduates In 2003 there were 35 PM schemes within UK higher education: 19 were piloting.

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Peer Mentoring In UK Higher Education Roz Phillips Stirling University


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Peer Mentoring In UK Higher Education

Roz Phillips

Stirling University

peer mentoring background information
Peer Mentoring – Background information
  • Peer Mentoring- Senior undergraduates guide and support incoming first year undergraduates
  • In 2003 there were 35 PM schemes within UK higher education: 19 were piloting.
  • 61% were initiated for retention reasons as well as widening participation.
the problem of student dropout
The Problem of Student Dropout
  • Two targets for Higher Education set by the government to be met by 2010
    • Widen participation
    • Lower dropout rate
  • The average dropout rate in the UK is 8%
  • USA research indicates 70% of dropouts occur within the first year
  • HEFCE: Non traditional students are most likely to withdraw.
  • Performance indicators for the non traditional student strongly correlate with dropout
moving to university
Moving to University
  • Adjustment to university occurs at an academic, social and emotional level (Chickering, 1993)
  • Students appear to be the most vulnerable during the first few days at university (Earwaker, 1992)
  • During semester 1 new students are at increased risk psychological problems.
tinto s theory of student withdrawal
Tinto’s Theory of Student Withdrawal
  • Integration is an important mediator between a student background and persistence
  • Social integration is directly related to
    • Persistence,
    • Loneliness,
    • Stress,
    • Well being,
    • Overall adjustment.
the benefits of social support
The Benefits of Social Support.
  • Social support has often been identified as a buffer to stress (Cohen & Wills, 1985)
  • Perceived social support correlates with social adjustment, feelings of attachment and self esteem
bringing it all together
Bringing it all together
  • How may a Peer Mentor help?
    • Aid in integration
    • A buffer
    • Role model
aims and objectives
Aims and Objectives
  • To conduct a controlled comparative evaluation of an established peer mentoring scheme in higher education.
  • To assess any possible benefits of the peer mentoring scheme regarding student well being and adaptation to university.
  • To determine the usage of the peer mentoring scheme within the first semester.
methodology questionnaire survey of first year students
2 universities

Both post 1960, one from the north of England and one from the south, matched on size and style - Non peer- mentoring (NPM: N= 100) and peer mentoring (PM: N=59).

Mean age 19.81, 83% female and 85% white.

Participants approached during welcome week shortly after they have met their PM’s

Re approached week 10 (T2) close to final exams.

METHODOLOGY (Questionnaire survey of first year students)
measures
Measures

PM Vs NPM

Wellbeing

Adaptation

Demographics

Appraisals

Pre-transitional worries

Mood

Coping

Social Support

Stress

results
Results
  • Significant differences between the universities on many of the demographic variables.
    • Age
    • Ethnicity
    • Members of religion and club,
    • Accommodation,
    • Distance from home, and
    • Individuals who are the first to go to university.
peer mentoring items
Peer Mentoring items
  • MEETING
    • 61% met their peer mentor within the first day
    • 80% of meetings took place in halls
    • 80% of meetings initiated by PM
    • 50% had 1 hour or more
  • T2 (10 weeks)
    • 52% no longer had contact
    • 10% saw their PM for 1 hour/week
how does a peer mentor help
How does a peer mentor help?
  • Peer mentors are used mostly as ‘tour guides’ during the first month
  • From time 1 to time 2
    • Decreases in support needed for external factors
    • Increases in support needed for more personal reasons
    • Increases in satisfaction
    • Decreases in support needed
week one stressors
Week one stressors
  • Highest stressors identified for coming to university = finances, meeting new people, and self doubt.
  • NPM university significantly more stressed over registration
  • PM university significantly more stressed over homesickness and orientation to halls
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Differences between the peer mentoring (PM) and non peer mentoring (NPM) on the main dependent variables
simple effects analysis concentrating on halls
Simple Effects Analysis- Concentrating on halls
  • Comparing the universities using students living in halls only
    • Coping at time point 1 remains significant
    • Wanting to leave remains significant
    • Social support approaching significance
    • College Adaptation – NS Supports Tinto’s Theory of Adjustment to University
summary
SUMMARY
  • Self esteem decreased for NPM students only.
  • PM students were greater integrated and reported higher levels of support
  • Three times as many students from the NPM had seriously considered leaving university.
  • Peer Mentoring helpful to all students within the first weeks and continued to be for a sub sample there after.
limitations
LIMITATIONS
  • Only included two universities who had particular differing characteristics
  • Sample bias
  • Only social science students were involved
  • Self reporting- social desirability?
further research
FURTHER RESEARCH
  • Expansion of work involving several universities within the UK.
  • The attitudes towards introducing a peer mentoring scheme
  • The introduction and follow up of a peer mentoring scheme
  • The Peer Mentors perspective to the scheme