W17 – Peer Mentoring for target groups – What would be a valuable extension to our mentoring programme for First Generation Students?

POSTER
Presentation
Dance room – Tuesday 09:00-10:00

Workshop – 30 minutes

Victoria Reszler

University of Graz, Austria / Educational and Student Services / 4students

Victoria Reszler studied German Language and Literature at the University of Graz and works for the Educational and Student Services at the University of Graz. She has been part of 4students, the student information service, since 2011.

Summary

In 2013 the University of Graz developed a peer mentoring programme for prospective and first year students who are the first ones in their immediate family to attend university. Now we want to open the mentoring programme for other target groups (e.g. international students). In this challenge workshop I want to discuss: What would be a valuable extension?

Abstract

In Austria, students with an educationally disadvantaged background are still underrepresented in higher education and are struggling with higher drop-out rates in the first year of studying. In 2013, the University of Graz intended to improve the support for so-called first generation students (FGS) by developing a peer mentoring programme for future and first year students who are the first ones in their immediate family to attend university. Since September 2013, two mentors (who are FGS as well) have been in charge of supporting FGS when entering university and moving through the first critical year of studying. The mentees have the opportunity to attend the programme already in their last school year, when they prepare for university until the end of the second semester. In the course of this mentoring programme, the mentees can take part in an individually arranged and guided trial study day, where the mentor takes them around the campus. They can visit the university’s departments, the libraries of the different institutes and participate in a course to get a realistic insight into the study programme they are interested in. Apart from that, the peer mentors offer individual guidance in person and via e-mail on topics such as getting started at university, student life, financial support, learning and writing skills, etc. The pilot project is running till December 2015 and now we have to ask ourselves – what now, what are the next steps?

Since there is no targeted support for international students who attend university as regular students or for students with a migration background, we are thinking about opening the mentoring programme also for this target groups.

Audience participation:

·         Think of a mentoring programme for a particular target group. Which target group would you choose, who needs support, what would you offer? (discussion in group of approx. 4, then short presentation in plenum)

·         What are the benefits of a mentoring programme for particular social groups and what are the negative aspects? (List pros & cons)

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