Undergraduate peer mentoring

Most new undergraduate students have questions about starting at university - and this is where peer mentoring can really help. We understand that you might have lots of questions that you’d prefer to ask an experienced student rather than a staff member. That’s what a peer mentor can provide.

Most departments run their own peer mentoring scheme and so how they operate varies slightly between departments. For example, some schemes operate in pairs or groups.

What is a peer mentor?

A peer mentor is another student (normally from your department) with experience of the University who can:

  • help you (the mentee) settle in
  • offer practical advice and information
  • point you in the right direction to services that may be available to you
  • help you to make the most of your university experience.

You might be feeling confused about where to find things on campus, how to use the library, who's who in your department, or how to get to know other students. Or, you might just feel like having a chat with someone who's had experience of adjusting to university life and who can give you tips about how to settle in. This is where your peer mentor can help you!

Getting a peer mentor

All new undergraduate students are offered the opportunity to have a student peer mentor. You may either be automatically assigned a peer mentor or you can sign up for a peer mentor from your department or school.

If you’re not sure who your peer mentor is or if you’d like to request a peer mentor, please contact your Departmental Peer Mentor Coordinator.

Meeting your peer mentor

If you're in a department that runs a peer mentor scheme, then you will normally meet your peer mentor in the first few weeks of term. Please contact your Departmental Peer Mentor Coordinator.

Buddy or peer mentor?

The Students’ Union co-ordinates a buddy scheme for specific groups of students including mature students and LGBT students. To join a peer mentor or buddy scheme contact your Departmental Peer Mentor Coordinator. East 15 Acting School only operates a buddy scheme.

Peer mentoring scheme

  • Department-based scheme
  • First port of call for referral
  • Professional mentor - mentee relationship
  • Peer mentors are trained
  • Peer mentors are automatically vTeam members (opt-out)
  • Peer mentors can log hours via vTeam and the Big Essex Award

Buddy scheme

  • Students' Union club or society-based scheme
  • Informal, social
  • Friendship-based
  • Buddies are not trained
  • Buddies are not automatically vTeam members
  • Buddies cannot log hours

Confidentiality, record keeping and data protection

It's important you understand that the mentoring relationship will remain confidential. A peer mentor is in a position of trust and is expected to treat student concerns and private matters with the utmost sensitivity.

However, they're not expected to keep secrets. To handle information confidentially means that information isn't shared beyond the scheme, and it will normally only be shared with your scheme co-ordinator or your Student Services Hub. Details of the confidentiality to be offered within your scheme are available from your Peer Mentor Co-ordinator.

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Contact us
Departmental Peer Mentor Coordinators For all queries about getting or being a peer mentor.
Student Experience Team If your department doesn't have a coordinator, contact us for advice.