A taxonomy of the characteristics of student peer mentors in higher education: findings from a literature review

May. 15, 2007

Source: Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Volume 15, Issue 2 May 2007, pages 149 - 164

Peer mentoring in higher education is regarded as an effective intervention to ensure the success and retention of vulnerable students. Many universities and colleges have therefore implemented some form of mentoring program as part of their student support services. While considerable research supports the use of peer mentoring to improve academic performance and decrease student attrition, few studies link peer mentoring functions with the type of peer best suited to fulfill these functions. This literature review categorizes the abundant student peer mentor descriptors found in mentoring research. The result is a preliminary taxonomy that classifies ten peer mentor characteristics according to mentoring function served (career-related or psychosocial). The proposed taxonomy and the discussion developed in this article help shed light on the dynamics of successful student peer mentoring relationships in higher education.

Updated: Mar. 18, 2008