Supporting Peers Through Mentorship

Published on Feb 18, 2014

Do you remember when you first arrived at Columbia? You didn’t know many people. You were just trying to find your way and maybe a few people to hang out with. Columbia understands how overwhelming incoming students can feel so they created the Peer Support Program.

The PSP aims to increase the success and retention rates of new minority and underrepresented students at Columbia. PSP matches those students with student mentors and a family cluster of 10 fellow mentees so they don’t have to go through the beginning of their college experience alone.

Junior journalism major Eddie Diaz has been a mentor for two years and has gained valuable experience. “It’s a very rewarding job if you become a mentor,” says Diaz. “You learn and you teach at the same time.” 

Kimberly Weatherly, Director of African-American Cultural Affairs, supervises the Peer Support Program and says she thinks the program is very beneficial. 

“You’re able to interact with students and help them transition from high school or their previous environment,” says. “Many mentees become mentors the next year.”

Peer Support Program requirements

Being a mentor isn’t as easy as it seems, it takes some serious time and dedication. A mentor has to truly believe in and commit to helping others.

PSP requires its mentors to:

  • Maintain a 2.8 GPA
  • Meet with their mentee for at least two hours per week
  • Attend bi-weekly peer mentor staff meetings
  • Attend required PSP events
  • And much more

All of your hard work doesn’t just help someone else, it helps you too!

Benefits of mentoring

You will help others. College students can get preoccupied with their individual academic and personal lives and can forget about everything else. But there’s a big world out there that needs teamwork and service. Mentors provide that by taking the time to help others in need.

“The biggest benefit of being a mentor is helping the students,” says Diaz. “Having people look up to you to help them and guide them through college is the best!”

You can gain valuable leadership and management skills. Helping another student navigate through their college experience generates leadership skills. And doing so while being a student will sharpen your management skills too.

You get to meet new people and create a professional network. Being a mentor will expose you to other mentors and mentees and many opportunities and relationships can come out of it.

You will learn more about yourself. When you help others, you will learn more about how you give advice and handle situations. Learning these things about yourself can help you grow.

You get paid. Mentors receive $750 per semester for all of their dedication.

Visit Multicultural Affairs for more information about applying to be a Peer Mentor. All applications are due no later than Wednesday, April 30, 2014 by 4:00pm!