EAB has identified best practices in developing and implementing peer-to-peer support to maximize their impact on student success and student equity.
As institutions seek to eliminate demographic disparities in student success, many overlook an effective strategy already on their campus: Deploying their own students as peer mentors and coaches.
Scaling up student success initiatives with professional staff members can be a financial challenge, especially in a difficult budget environment.
Peer-to-peer support, however, requires less financial investment while also building a strong culture of support and belongingness, especially among historically underrepresented students.
This resource is part of the Reimagine Constituent Engagement for the 21st Century Roadmap. Access the Roadmap for stepwise guidance with additional tools and research.
4 tools to help you design and scale peer support programs
EAB’s research found that peer support has immense value because of peers’ ability to promote a sense of belonging for students and scale up support initiatives on campus.
The best peer-to-peer programs have a few things in common: well-trained mentors help support both the academic and social transition in a high-touch mentoring experience that reaches a large number of students. This resource highlights key components to the best peer-to-peer support programs and describes three successful mentoring programs. Download the Profiles
Peer-to-Peer support programs aren’t a new tactic for tackling student success challenges, but many existing programs struggle because their oversight is too flexible to fully align the program with broader institutional goals. Other programs struggle if they become too constrained by administrative priorities, limiting the effectiveness of a peer leader.
This diagnostic tool will help student success leaders identify areas of improvement in existing peer-to-peer support programs and understand best practices for developing new programs. Download the Audit
When it comes to peer mentoring, institutions often overlook the importance of the mentor experience. This guide will help ensure that peer-to-peer support programs provide adequate training and support to mentors in order to ensure the success of peer-to-peer support programs and to foster career-readiness in mentors. Download the Guide
Peer support is most successful when the calendar and curriculum guiding programs are strategically aligned with the academic calendar. Use this resource to understand common challenges that students face and develop a mentoring curriculum that delivers the right support when students need it most. Download the Calendar and Curriculum Guide
Recommended reading on building peer-to-peer support programs
Smith, Jennifer L., “Innovating for Student Success: The University Leadership Network (ULN) and Tiered Undergraduate Peer Mentor Model,”Metropolitan Universities, Vol 28(3), 2017
The Academic Affairs Forum is grateful to the individuals and organizations that shared their insights, analysis, and time with us. We would especially like to recognize advisors to our work who were particularly generous with their time and expertise.