Types of Support

In-Class Supports 

You may be asked to attend a class with your mentee.  This may be a class you are already enrolled in, or it may not be a class you are taking.  In either case, the decision to have a mentoring partner in class is usually based on the learning needs of the mentee, and how the instruction provided in the class matches the student’s strengths.  Some students may need support in one class, while she/he may be independent in another.  Knowing the goals for what the student hopes to gain from taking the course is helpful in determining whether or not the student would need a mentoring partner in class. 

In class supports will vary depending on a variety of factors, but might include note-taking, prompting, re-explaining, creating adaptations on the spot, talking with the instructor about possible adaptations, making sure all assignment due dates are recorded, clarifying for comprehension, and encouraging participation. 

If the student is taking a course for credit, the adaptations and supports should be limited to those activities that would help the student access the curriculum and/or participate in class activities and requirements. These might include encouraging a student to raise her/his hand, reminding a student to take notes when important topics are mentioned in class, or providing a second set of notes during class lectures.  Please check with the mentoring coordinator to determine the appropriateness of these supports. 

If the student is auditing a course, the adaptations can be more creative.  These might include completing an assignment with a partner, generating a slideshow presentation with pictures instead of a research paper, removing two of the four choices on a multiple choice test, reducing the number of items to complete or questions to answer, changing an essay question in to a multiple choice or word bank question, or dictating and scribing answers.

 Academic Tutoring Supports 

Often times, the supports provided to peers occur outside of class.  These can include re-explaining, clarifying, checking homework dates, proof reading assignments and providing editing suggestions, creating graphic organizers or note cards for studying key concepts, highlighting key concepts in texts, studying together, helping mentee access email and blackboard, helping mentee to email professor with questions. 

Social Supports 

As most college students know, there is more to life on a college campus than studying.  An important aspect of attending college and becoming a contributing member of society is learning through social interactions with others.  Sometimes a student may have difficulty making friends or communicating with others in an effective manner, so addressing these skills through a mentoring partnership is extremely important. Eating lunch together, hanging out at the student union, introducing your mentee to people, addressing social skill needs through modeling, discussion, prompting, reminders, and redirection are all key facets of the mentoring relationship. 

We have learned that to be a truly effective mentor, mentoring partners need time to get to know one another as peers, learning about each other’s interests and learning what each brings to the relationship.  During each academic term, commit to attending at least one campus or off-campus event together.  It can be a sporting or arts and leisure event, a student club event, or even a movie after class.  Try to find something you both will be interested in and can fit in to your schedules.