Mentors vital for first-year college students

First-Year Experience Peer Mentors.

The transition from high school to college can be frightening and uncomfortable. Forming meaningful mentor relationships is one of the most important aspects of college. The influence mentors have on students is often undervalued and goes unnoticed until a student can feel the direct impact of mentorship themselves.

Mentors can play a vital role in nurturing a student academically and emotionally. There are many places at Florida A&M and in the community to find a trusted mentor or adviser. A mentor can be a professor, a faculty member, a coach or even another student.

The good thing about a student-mentor bond is that it is often formed effortlessly. Sometimes when it’s someone who aligns with the student’s goals and interests, the relationship comes natural. Finding someone who can relate to you as you encounter new things is inspiring.

Colleges and universities often offer a wide variety of mentoring programs on campus for students. Florida A&M University offers First-Year Experience Peer Mentors to mentor freshmen students in their classes. FAMU also offers Access Summer Bridge Mentors to assist underrepresented students who need help meeting the criteria to enroll at FAMU. Clubs and organizations on FAMU’s campus such as Big Sister Little Sister and Big Brother Little Brother allow students to sign up and become a mentor or a mentee.

“Incoming college students want a sense of belonging and guidance, that’s what we’re here for. We help develop their confidence and ease their transition process,” said Michael Vancooten, an Access Summer Bridge peer mentor at Florida A&M University.

Sometimes mentoring programs aren’t offered. In this case, you should step outside of your comfort zone and reach out to someone who could potentially serve as your mentor. It’s OK to ask for guidance or assistance. College isn’t easy and the goal is to get in and out within four years. Whatever help is needed to ensure that you reach your end goal, is not something you should be ashamed of. 

“I benefitted immensely from mentorship as a freshman. I aspire to provide the same service to incoming freshmen as my mentors did for me. Making the transition from high school to college as smooth as possible is the goal,” said Jade Jacobs, a First-Year Experience peer mentor at FAMU.

Incoming freshmen need mentors to assist them with the unpredictability and uneasiness of what college has in store for them. Mentorship on campus can boost a student’s confidence in the classroom. College mentors can also have a life-long effect on a student’s academic career.