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First Year Mentor Program

Peer mentoring programs are shown to promote persistence, provide opportunities that encourage academic success, and foster a sense of belonging. The one-on-one model is designed to be student-centered and student-directed, allowing participants to easily blend their busy schedules with the requirements of the program.

The James Madison First Year Mentor Program strives to:

  • Support First Year Students in their transition to James Madison and Michigan State University
  • Encourage successful academic and personal development
  • Promote student involvement
  • Enrich the connections of Madison students to each other, the college, and the MSU campus

This webpage provides information for first-year students who want to take advantage of the program, and advanced students who may be considering becoming a peer mentor.

  • Information for First-Year Students

    What is a First-Year Mentor?

    A First-Year Mentor is an upperclass student who will meet one-on-one with a first-year Madison student and serve as a role model, support system and resource agent.

    What Can a First-Year Mentor help me with?

    • Transitioning to the university
    • Getting to know campus resources
    • Getting involved on campus
    • Meeting new people
    • Tips for being successful academically
    • Help with class registration

    What will I be expected to do?

    The type of relationship you build with your mentor is completely up to the two of you.  In your first meeting, you and your mentor will talk about what you would like to get out of the relationship, what your interests are, and the best way to maintain contact with one another.  From there, the two of you will decide what works best for you.


    How can I sign up to be a part of the First-Year Mentor Program?

    Apply Online

  • Information for Students interested in becoming a Mentor

    So you want to be a Mentor?

    Do you remember what it was like your first semester at James Madison and what you did to survive?  Are you a good listener who would like to help others learn from your experiences but doesn’t pretend to have all the answers? Are you a motivated student who is interested in making a difference in the lives of first-year Madison students? 

    Become a Madison First-Year Mentor!

    Why become a Peer Mentor?

    • Improve the sense of community within your college;
    • Meet new people;
    • Build your resume;
    • Gain leadership experience;
    • Get free food!

    What does a Mentor do?

    • Interact with their mentee a few times during each month in order to:
      • Provide positive role-modeling;
      • Foster a sense of belonging;
      • Encourage academic and personal success.
      • Mentors can expect to spend approximately 15 hours over the course of each semester serving as a First-year Peer Mentor.  This includes:
        • One in-person meeting a month with their mentee (lunch, coffee, or a hike – it’s up to you!)
        • Electronically contacting their mentee (via Facebook, email, text, etc.) once a week. 
      • Attending the First-Year Mentor Program   Kick-off ‘Mentor Mania’ in addition to monthly mentor meetings.


    • 2.5 GPA or better
    • Sophomore or higher
    • Good academic & disciplinary standing
    • Knowledgeable about MSU
    • Comfortable meeting new people
    • Enrolled as an undergraduate student at MSU
    • Be open to working with diverse populations of students

    Responsibilities & Expectations:

    • Attend a Madison First Year Mentor Program workshops and socials (They will be free to attend.  Food and beverages will be provided!)
    • Keep regular contact with your mentee (email, phone, in-person)
    • Become familiar with campus organizations
    • Answer questions about registration process and encourage mentee to maintain a positive and consistent relationship with their Academic Advisor
    • Serve as a role model for incoming students
    • Help students become familiar with university resources; advise and refer students to appropriate university resources, as the need arises (Olin Health Center, Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions, LBGT Resource Center, etc.)
    • Keep your mentee informed of campus programming, workshops, and activities that may be helpful
    • Attend First-Year Mentor trainings
    • Complete evaluations after your meetings explaining your activities/experiences


    • First-Year Mentor T-Shirt
    • Leadership development
    • Opportunity to impact the life of an incoming student in a powerful way!
    • Awesome experience that is tons of FUN!

    How can I apply to be a Mentor?

    Information about the 2021-2022 Peer Mentor application will be posted in the coming weeks!