The Mentoring Program, also known as the Big/Lil' Program, was initiated in 1986 as a part of a retention program for students of color. Today the program is open to all students. Its mission is to increase the retention of students by providing incoming freshmen and new transfer students opportunities to learn from mentors who serve as coaches, role models, advisers, guides and referral agents. The number of student participants has increased each year since the beginning of the program. The program is designed to assist students in adjusting to the different challenges of college life, including those that are academic, social, professional and personal in nature, with the goal of retention. The Ambassador Peer Mentoring Program aims to promote academic success, personal development, campus leadership, and civic engagement.
What is a Mentor?
A mentor serves as a coach, role model, adviser, guide and referral agent for freshmen and new transfer students. Mentors assist new students in getting acclimated to campus life. The program offers two types of mentors:
Why Should I Join the Mentoring Program?
Adjusting to college can be very difficult for any student, especially ethnic minority students who often experience feelings of alienation and loneliness at predominately white institutions. The purpose of this type of program is to enhance students' chances of academic success and to create a sense of belonging at the university. To facilitate this process, we pair entering an freshman (mentee) with an upper-class peer ambassador (mentor) and in some cases we also pair mentees with a faculty/staff member when available.
Mentoring is an ongoing function that produces lasting results in both the mentee's and mentor's life. Being a mentor is a great opportunity to help others find a sense of self and belonging. Mentors not only get an opportunity to tell their mentee about their experience at Tulane, they also get the opportunity to shape the minds of new Tulane students and help them adjust to life on campus.
New students benefit in many ways from having a mentor. It can reduce the stress of coming to campus by having a friend/mentor already in place. This is also directly related to a higher retention of new students and a higher GPA (as compared to their fellow non-mentored new students). Mentors can be an incredible support system for new students - and because of previous experiences on campus, mentors have the knowledge of where to refer their mentees if the mentors are unable to help.
How Do I Get a Mentor?
Getting a mentor is simple. If you are a first year student or new transfer student, just complete this online form. All matches are for one academic semester. If the mentoring relationship does not work out, the mentee need only call or email the Program Coordinator for Mentoring and they will assign a new mentor. For more information please contact the OMA Office.
Why Should I Join the Mentoring Program?
Mentees benefit in many ways from having a mentor and participating in the ambassador program. By having a friend/mentor when you arrive at Tulane, the stress of adjusting to campus is reduced. This is also directly related to higher retention of new students and higher GPAs (as compared to their fellow non-mentored new students). If you have a problem with anything personal or academic, your mentor can be a support system. If your mentor does not have direct experience, they will know where to refer you so that you can get help.
Much of the learning that contributes to one's success happens not only through books, but also through real world experience. Without a mentor, that learning occurs mostly through trial and error. With a mentor, however, one can benefit from the experiences and expertise of someone who has withstood the trial and can help you avoid the error! Similarly, those new to Tulane will discover that being a mentee shortens the learning curve for acquiring the skills and knowledge most critical to a successful career at Tulane.
Participation in the ambassador program offers some other benefits as well. OMA offers program-only events and we also give priority spacing to certain cultural or social trips with limited space to those invested in our program. With your membership card/number you gain access to a lot of programs and activities that are not open to other students.
Although each mentoring relationship is different, there are a variety of activities for mentors and mentees. Some eat lunch together, some attend football games or performances, and others go on cultural trips together. Mentors have been involved in goal setting for the mentee and referring mentees to campus resources when they cannot help in a situation. Also, the program offers numerous programs throughout the year such as mentoring/study groups/sessions, cultural awareness programs, Celebration of seasons/traditions and end of the social and recognitions activities.
How Will I be Paired?
Mentors and mentees are paired based on the information provided in the mentees information sheet. We ask mentees to rank what information is most important in matching and try to pair them accordingly to best meet the needs of the mentee.
When is the Best Time to Sign Up?
The most effective time to sign up is over the summer so communication can begin with the mentor prior to arriving on campus. However, you can sign up at any time throughout the year.
Mentors and mentees meet and talk. Mentees may ask their mentor questions, discuss a topic of interest, or just check in with their mentor.
Mentors provide support for mentees as they connect with the Tulane and New Orleans community. For example, realizing how difficult it can be to talk with your professors or figuring how and in what organizations to get involved.
OMA offers a variety of cultural trips throughout the year to different historical/cultural locations, festivals, and social outings. Examples of trips: Volunteer with the New Orleans Hornets, Night at Rock-n-Bowl, day trip to International Festival De Louisiana, day trip to the National Civil Rights Museum. Sometimes a group of mentors and mentees go on outings together and other times mentor/mentee pairs explore on their own.
Workshops are attended by mentees along with their mentors. These interactive programs are co-led by the Program Coordinators, the OMA Graduate Assistant, and the Associate Director. Sometimes panelists are brought in to cover specific topics. Topics may include:
Brown Bag Discussions
These moderated lunch-time discussions cover topics of interest to mentees. Mentees may attend as many or as few of them as they wish on a drop-in basis.
Division of Student Affairs, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-314-2188 firstname.lastname@example.org