The effects of college mentoring programs on academic performance, program satisfaction, and predicting students' future involvement

Renee Tura Alexander, Fordham University


College enrollment rates for 18- to 24-year-old African Americans and Latinos have reached an all-time high, but fewer complete their degrees than their Asian and Caucasian counterparts. The performance/achievement gap in higher education—the discrepancy in academic achievement and college success among different racial and ethnic groups—is a complex and multifaceted issue facing college administrators, faculty, and policy makers nationwide. One solution to higher attrition among minority students: mentoring programs that match alumni and minority undergraduates. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an alumni student mentoring program on seniors' satisfaction, academic performance, and the extent to which participation predicted future relationships with mentors, peers and the program itself. A twenty-six item web-based Likert-style survey was administered to a cohort of 182 seniors who were the first to complete eight successive semesters in the Cornell Alumni Student Mentoring Program. After each section, students were invited to share qualitative, open-ended comments. Students also provided demographic information and self-reported GPAs and expected graduation dates. The responses were grouped into three clusters: Mentor/Mentee Relations, Peer-to-Peer Relations, and Program Relations. These components were examined to determine if statistically significant differences existed, based on gender, race, and college/school enrolled in at Cornell. Correlation coefficients were used to determine the degree of linear relationship between intervening and dependent variables, and forward regression modeling was conducted to predict students' satisfaction, wanting to become a mentor and to continue relationships with the program and mentors. The results indicate that males more than females seemed to benefit more significantly from the program. There were no statistically significance differences in race and college enrolled in. Moreover, the quality of the mentor/mentee relationship predicted program satisfaction, the desire to become a mentor, maintain relationships, and recommend the program to incoming students. The outcomes suggest that quality mentoring contributed to the success of the program. Recommendations for future research include conducting a large matched-pair-sample study comparing two similar groups, developing a longitudinal study of former mentees three to five years out of the program and looking back, and the freshman through junior year experience. Further advice for future practice: encourage colleges and universities to create multilevel mentoring programs and engage faculty, administrators, and staff in mentoring their students.

Subject Area

Black studies|Curriculum development|Hispanic American studies|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Alexander, Renee Tura, "The effects of college mentoring programs on academic performance, program satisfaction, and predicting students' future involvement" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3373823.