Peer Mentoring Q&A: Why Becoming A CHAMP Can Improve Your Odds For Success
Dan Yoder is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Service Management at the Forbes School of Business® at Ashford University. The 34 year-old Navy veteran and father of two is also a member of the CHAMPS Peer Mentoring Program, which puts high-achieving students in a position to offer guidance and leadership to new students.
Dan spoke with Forward Thinking about his role as a peer mentor and why he believes it’s a program Ashford students should aspire to join:
FT: Describe your role as a peer mentor:
Dan Yoder: My primary role is support and encouragement. Returning to school can be hard, particularly if there has been a large gap in between schooling, or you are moving from a brick-and-mortar school to an online environment. One of the tools we use is helping the mentee get accustomed to an online learning environment, helping to locate all the tools accessible in the Student Portal, for example. One of the aspects of the mentor and mentee pairing process is compatibility through relatable backgrounds. For example, because I am prior military, it is easy for me to relate to the struggles of ex-military or even current military going to school or transitioning into civilian life.
FT: What are the benefits of having a peer mentor?
Dan Yoder: One of the most important aspects of going to college is to have a support system. Some people have supportive families, others have friends and colleagues, while others have no one. We all have bad days or classes we struggle with, and a peer mentor is there to help. Keep in mind there are limitations, such as we cannot do the mentees’ math homework for them. But sharing coping methods can be a great help.
FT: What are the benefits of being a peer mentor?
Dan Yoder: Helping others and sharing information is a great reward in itself. As the process continued I found out that the benefits were indeed greater. There is a great amount of satisfaction when your mentee tells you how your advice helped them get an A on a research paper. More tangible benefits include a growing social network from mentees, fellow mentors, and Ashford staff. Peer mentors also get a nifty certificate and can add the program under volunteer programs for their resumes.
CHAMPS is officially a 7-week program, but it in the end it’s really not. It’s a journey, an adventure, and an opportunity for all participants. Sure, sometimes, after the initial 7 weeks have passed, the mentor and mentee go their separate ways, but sometimes they become lifelong friends. Do not think of CHAMPS as a 7-week program, but rather as an investment with limitless potential value.
FT: What’s the best advice you’ve given a mentee?
Dan Yoder: Remember to take time for yourself and de-stress. Remember the hopes and dreams at the end of the journey that will make the struggles worth it. The end goal might seem far away, but every discussion, every paper, every class takes you a little closer to that dream.
An Ashford student who wishes to become a peer mentor must first complete a minimum of 50 credits with no more than 18 credits to go before graduation, while maintaining a 3.0 GPA. Additional requirements and benefits, as well as application links, can be found on the CHAMPS page on ashford.edu.
Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education