Mentor Program Helps Students Succeed

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Contributed by: Winona State University Admissions

The WSU Guiding Warriors Mentoring Program recruits upperclassmen at Winona State to act as mentors to new students and help acclimate them to the experience of starting college or just coming to a new school. Mentors provide help with things such as navigating campus, getting to know the professors, studying and choosing or switching majors.

Erich Schweitzer, Features Reporter

Fall semester is here and classes have started, bringing a new wave of first-year and transfer students to Winona State University. Starting at a new school can be a difficult experience but the WSU Guiding Warriors Mentoring Program is here to help new students through that process.

The WSU Guiding Warriors Mentoring Program recruits upperclassmen at Winona State to act as mentors to new students and help acclimate them to the experience of starting college or just coming to a new school. Mentors provide help with things such as navigating campus, getting to know the professors, studying and choosing or switching majors.

Sheikh Fahad, who is now in his fourth year at Winona State and majoring in computer science, was a mentee in the program during his first year of college and has now been a mentor for the past three years.

Fahad said that he felt overwhelmed when he first came to campus with all the demands of his major. However, he went on to state how much having a mentor helped him out.

“I could always have someone to ask questions if I’m confused,” Fahad said regarding the benefits of having a mentor.

Fahad also listed some of the things he helps his mentees with, such as homework, getting to know that campus and its professors and how much time they should dedicate to their classes.

“I tell them my experience,” Fahad said because he also knows what it’s like to be in that situation. Other ways he connects with his mentees is through “giving them advice, talking to them, hanging out with them.”

Mentors help new students navigate campus better and help them keep their grades up. Incoming students gain leadership skills and knowledge about how to jumpstart their college career. (Carolyn Hauschild)

As a mentee in the program, Fahad said he “learned a lot.” He learned how to navigate campus better and it helped him get better grades in his classes. Fahad stated that being a mentor has also helped him with leadership skills and having to be more knowledgeable in order to help his own mentees.

For the students he has mentored, Fahad said they have been doing very well in their classes. He stated that he is “extremely proud of them” and “their GPAs are great.”

When asked why he became a mentor, Fahad said he wanted to “pay it forward” since he knows that there are students who have gone through what he has and wants to help them.

Tyler Treptow-Bowman, Intercultural and Completion Coordinator for Winona State’s KEAP Center, helps run the mentoring program. Treptow-Bowman also talked about the benefits the program has for the students involved.

“Our data shows consistently that students involved in the program, whether they’re mentees or mentors, do better their second semester compared to their first semester,” Treptow-Bowman stated. He also said that their data showed that these students had higher GPAs in correlation to their time in the program.

According to Treptow-Bowman, the program is much more coordinated this year as they are utilizing a website known as Mentor Collective, which offers a “proxy texting service” for students to connect with mentors.

Treptow-Bowman finished by saying that another recruitment wave for mentors will be starting soon as they are only at 50 percent capacity currently for mentors in the program.