Mentoring gives new Bobcats
support, strong connections
By Billi London-Gray
Nothing impacts a student’s college experience like having strong support and on-campus connections. Texas State University’s Mentoring Program is designed to help new students establish vital relationships within the university community.
The Mentoring Program, a student service offered by the Division of Student Affairs, pairs new freshmen and transfer students with faculty, staff or experienced Texas State students to meet regularly throughout the year. Mentors help guide mentees through the new experience of being at the university, providing support, encouragement and help finding resources on campus.
Each mentoring relationship is different. Some go out for meals together; others visit at the mentor’s home or office; and some go to university events, like football games, films or performances. The Mentoring Program also facilitates events throughout the year, like an annual holiday social in December, weekly mentoring sessions, mentoring hours with academic deans, and the End-of- the-Year Recognition Luncheon.
“Faculty and staff have a great deal of knowledge that they can share with students, but sometimes student don’t know how to approach professionals in an informal manner,” says Ruben Mercado, the program’s graduate research assistant. “Mentoring gives faculty and staff the opportunity to meet with students outside work or the classroom. It allows the students to be more comfortable and share more, and it breaks down some of the barrier between students and staff.”
After applying, mentors and mentees go through short orientation sessions, covering the basics of the program. Once mentors and mentees have been matched, they coordinate their own one-on-one meetings. New students can sign up anytime during their first year at Texas State. Mentors can also apply anytime. The next round of orientation sessions will be held Wednesday, Sept. 7.
Any Texas State faculty or staff member can become a mentor, provided they have a demonstrated knowledge of Texas State’s student resources and a desire to assist new students as they acclimate to the university. To be a peer mentor, a Texas State student must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and at least 24 credit hours.
“The Mentoring Program is a great way to establish new friendships, as well as share the knowledge you’ve gained during your own college experience,” Mercado says.
According to the program’s website, its primary goal is to increase the success of new students. But for most mentoring relationships, the benefit is mutual, with both mentor and mentee being enriched by the experience.
“Seeing the growth that the students go through in such a short period of time is very rewarding,” Mercado says. “It’s great to see students grow to be more comfortable with themselves and their surroundings. The mentoring program helps so much with that process.”