Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Jason Wozniak, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline S. Hodes, Ed.D.

Committee Member

John Elmore, Ph.D.


Transitioning into higher education is a stressful time for students as they gain independence while combating social isolation, increased decision making, and challenging academic pursuits. Today’s college students arrive with a wide variety of socio-cultural backgrounds and developmental levels, so there is a greater need for transparency of college costs, programming opportunities, and academic support, especially among low income and first-generation students. First Year Experience Courses help students begin to see themselves as part of the institution, aiming to impact student persistence and graduation rates. This research implements a peer mentoring program within these safe spaces, where mentors support students’ cognitive and attitudinal changes by facilitating access to greater foundational knowledge of university resources and academic self-efficacy. Through this relationship, mentors also benefit from engagement with a university department and the development of leadership capabilities.