UA Little Rock creates mentoring program to help new students

UALR sign at the entrance on S. University Dr near University Plaza on January 28, 2016.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has created a new pilot mentoring program to help retain new students. 

The Trojan Critical M.A.S.S. (Mentoring and Student Support) program will match UA Little Rock staff volunteers as mentors for first-year and transfer students who were admitted or registered after July 22.

“Mentoring is a dynamic way to connect seasoned staff members with new members of the community,” said Heather Reed, director of student retention initiatives. “By helping the campus feel smaller and easier to navigate, mentors can help reduce stress, guide new students, and help build a positive relationship with students where students feel comfortable asking for assistance.”

The goal of this new student success initiative is to help new students find the resources they need to be successful in their college career and to increase student retention.

“Students start the semester knowing they have a go-to staff member who can listen to their questions and concerns and provide support to navigate an environment that is often completely new to most of our first-year students,” Reed said.

Staff volunteers will meet with their mentees once a month during the fall semester. Mentors will participate in a short online training that will explain the program and how mentors can provide valuable support to one or two students. Students and mentors will complete interest forms to assist in making meaningful matches based on similarities in academic majors, hobbies, and interests.

“The goal of the program is to build a positive relationship with students which hopefully helps retain students from their first semester all the way to graduation,” Reed said. “Through the mentoring program, students will ideally stay in touch with their mentor after their first semester building a lasting relationship.”

More than 80 students have already signed up for the program. Staff members can sign up to volunteer by filling out this online form. For more information, contact Heather Reed at hareed@ualr.edu.

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