If you are interested in participating in the Wilmington College Connections program, please complete our short questionnaire.
The first semester is by far the most crucial semester in an incoming freshman’s college career. We have found that many first-year students become overwhelmed with the adjustment from high school life to college life. To help with that, we at Wilmington College are proud to offer students an opportunity to participate in the Wilmington College Connections Peer Support Program.
As a whole, students of color (or other under-represented students) attending an institution, in which they are considered the minority, face different challenges than students who fit the majority profile. Through this program, we try to address these concerns and steer our students to the resources which will offer them additional or necessary support.
Here’s how our program works. We match an entering student with a current Wilmington College student who is a part of our peer support team who’ll serve as a resource for your first year student. Our peer support team is comprised of current WC students who have demonstrated the skills and leadership qualities that we feel are necessary for being role models for our incoming students. They have been selected according to criteria such as grade point average, faculty and staff referrals, previous mentoring experience as well as significant involvement in campus and community activities.
Our peer support team also receives formal training and are accountable to administrators of the program’s steering committee who facilitate this program. Peer support mentors will help assist the new students with many of the concerns that may face entering freshman. The program does not interfere with any of the normal freshman activities, nor does it separate the student from any campus functions; in fact, the program augments these programs and promotes participation in campus-wide functions.
The program is not mandatory, however, the benefits are far too numerous to ignore and we strongly encourage students to consider taking part. If you are interested, please complete the Connections Program Questionnaire.
No. The program is primarily voluntary, but it comes highly recommended. In years past we have found that those who actually take the initiative and choose to be in the program get more out of it than students who are simply placed in the program.
Every student of color who has paid their enrollment deposit is notified of the program. Primarily, we look for students who want to be in the program. Other factors that are considered are demographics (re: out of state students) and academics. There have been students who have been admitted to Wilmington College that have been placed in the Wilmington College Connections Program as an added level of academic support, due to their academic profile or other circumstances.
First-year students in the program are asked to communicate on a regular basis with their assigned peer support mentor and the program steering committee, if necessary. Students are also required to attend all program events with their mentor, and to take full advantage of any helpful resources that the college and this program may provide.
Peer support mentors are expected to meet in person and on a weekly basis with their assigned mentees to discuss and address their progress and concerns and to serve as a resource person. They will also refer them to the appropriate college offices and student organizations for any needed assistance. They are also expected to plan and implement at least one monthly social event with their mentees. Lastly peer support mentors are asked to submit a written progress/activity report for each mentee. These reports are collected by the mentor’s supervisor and reviewed by the entire steering committee.
Initially peer support mentors candidates apply for the program. Selection is mainly based on the applicant’s GPA, leadership ability, on-campus involvement and passion for serving others (as expressed via a submitted essay). Once the selection process is completed, all mentors go through initial training and are accountable to a designated member of the Wilmington College Connections Program Steering Committee (made up of WC administrators).
We try our best to create matches that benefit both parties. Matches are determined by various factors, with gender being the first and foremost (we match like genders). Other variables taken into consideration are hometowns and high schools, athletic involvement, general interests, academic majors and prior acquaintances.
Absolutely. Our program is designed to help students integrate and feel more comfortable.
We certainly hope not, however that differs from student to student, depending on their needs. While we understand that the WCC may not be for everyone, we have found that minority retention rates are slightly higher among the students that have participated in the program, as compared to those who were not in the program.