WATERVILLE, August 2016 — Thomas College’s peer mentoring program, which was the first CRLA certified program in Maine, was recently recertified by College Reading and Learning Association’s International Mentor Training Program Certification for the next five years.
This program, which began in 2008, assigns each incoming first year Thomas student a peer mentor. Peer mentors maintain one-on-one communication with their mentees throughout their first year of college and contribute to peer education efforts by emphasizing personal and academic development, responsible and healthy choices, and making the most of the Thomas College experience.
“Every entering student at Thomas College gets to have a ‘guide on the side’, an experienced student who remembers what it’s like to be in their first year at Thomas,” says Peer Mentoring Coordinator Reanna Burns. “These peer mentors are passionate about helping their students acclimate, understand and thrive in the Thomas community and beyond.”
In the 2015-16 academic year, 10 mentors worked with more than 250 mentees and provided nearly 500 hours of one-on-one face-to-face contact, in addition to small group, phone and email contact.
“First year students have reported that having a non-judgmental peer to answer questions makes asking for help less intimidating, aids in familiarization to our campus, serves as an ‘instant resource’ of information, provides insight and guidance on rising to different leadership roles around campus, all while promoting other campus activities and involvement,” said Burns.
The program also provides peer mentors leadership skills and experience while working with their mentees.
“Over the past eight years, this program has grown – with more staff, more mentors, increased funding and a stronger emphasis on helping our students,” said Vice President of Retention Services Debbie Cunningham. “Thomas College is committed to preparing students for success in their personal and professional lives, and for leadership and service in their communities. This program is an excellent example of how our student leaders live this mission every day.”