Peer mentors and other valuable resources for freshmen

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By Bryce Bunting from Freshman Mentoring

BYU is home to some of the best and brightest students in the world ready to reach their dreams, however, sometimes they don’t know
where to begin. This is where Freshman Mentoring comes into play.

Freshman Mentoring is a program that supports first-year students in achieving their goals. It provides them priority access to a variety of
mentored General Education courses. Attending one or more of these mentored courses allows students to develop relationships that will
last throughout their college experience.

Freshman Mentoring also provides new students with a peer mentor, a more experienced BYU student who connects them with campus
resources and opportunities and supports freshmen as they transition to BYU.

One peer mentor, Taleah Howard, had several students who expressed interest in forming study groups for their Music 202 course;
however, they were unsure of how to begin.

“They weren’t totally sure where to get started,” Howard said. “I contacted six students and asked them if they would be willing to be study
group leaders, and then I opened up a workshop for any student who wanted to come.”

In the workshop she gave the students ideas for successful study groups. The groups met throughout the semester, working on assignments and preparing for tests.

Drew Powell, one of the freshman group leaders, said the study group benefited him in multiple ways.

“I was impressed to find that students are willing to work with one another to make a product worth more than the sum of its parts,” Powell said. “We didn’t merely study together. We developed networking skills by coordinating when we could meet to study. We introduced different ways of thinking to each other.”

Students like Powell say peer mentors are a great resource for ambitious, well prepared students hoping to make the most of their BYU
experience.

Peer mentor, Elisabeth Earnshaw, observed this through her interactions with a particularly organized and determined student named
Eric Peterson, a history major.

“Eric came to school prepared to excel and impressed me with his organization,” Elisabeth said. “Despite all of his hard work and interests, he had no idea what he wanted to major in.”

Eric and Elisabeth met weekly during his first semester to discuss strategies and resources to help him in his search. Through
these regular meetings, Eric became involved in the Honors Program and found a number of enticing Honors courses for his second semester. Eventually, through his involvement in the Honors Program, conversations with academic advisement centers and guidance from faculty members, Eric was able to find the right major for him.

Eric said he reflected on this process and his future desire to be a peer mentor himself.

“There is no way my freshman year would have been what it was without my freshman mentor. I want to be able to do that for others,” he said.

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