This project began in Fall Semester 2006 with the goal of increasing retention rates for freshmen students to at least 90 percent in targeted University Writing classes through the placement of peer mentors in these classes each semester. Peer mentors are upper-division students who attend all class sessions with freshmen students and help them by emphasizing attendance, time management, and use of campus resources. Peer mentors are not teaching assistants, SI leaders, or tutors. In the words of one freshman: “Peer mentors help students, while teaching assistants help professors.”
This project is modeled on the highly successful EOP Bridge Transitional Program for “special-admit” freshmen who come from low-income families and are the first in their families to attend college. Typically regarded by others in the university as “high risk for failure,” EOP Bridge students in recent years have attained retention rates higher than regularly admitted freshmen in their first year of college.