'Will I get paid for being a student mentor?’
The role of Student Mentor is voluntary and there are several benefits to taking part. Mentors who have supported new students are given a certificate of achievement. Experienced mentors can apply for the role of Super Mentor, which has a bursary of £325.
‘How much time will I have to spend on the student mentor role?’
It is not intended that the role of student mentor will interfere with studies. New students send queries before arriving at the University in many cases (usually in August and September). Once new students have enrolled, they may need some further support, but this generally trails off after two or three weeks. In the unlikely event that the mentoring role becomes too demanding, the scheme co-ordinators should be informed. Appropriate action will be taken.
‘How much help am I expected to give new students, as a student mentor?’
This is a matter for individual decision. Some mentors restrict their support to answering or referring on queries by email. Other mentors meet with their mentees face-to-face from time to time, either individually or in a small group. Some mentors consent to being in contact by phone. As above, if mentors or mentees have any concerns relating to mentor-mentee contact or support arrangements, they should inform the scheme co-ordinators.
‘How long is it usual to support new students after they start their courses?’
Requests from new students for support or information usually trail off after two or three weeks after enrolment. Some mentees may continue to ask occasional questions after this period. In a few cases, mentors and mentees stay in touch over a longer period.
‘Do I need to take any precautions to ensure my safety as a student mentor/mentee?’
Meetings between mentors and mentees should take place in public places, such as the coffee bar on campus. Mentors and mentees should be cautious about supplying personal contact information initially. New students are only permitted to participate as mentees if they are over the age of 18.
‘Will I be expected to continue as a student mentor in subsequent years at USW?’
An email is sent to student mentors towards the end of the academic year, enquiring whether they are willing to continue in the role the following year. Mentors need to reply if they do not wish to continue. Mentors can withdraw from the scheme at any time by contacting the co-ordinators.
‘Will all my mentees be studying the same course as me?’
The co-ordinators aim to match new students to mentors studying the same course as much as possible. However, because it is not always possible to recruit mentors in required numbers from all courses, it may not be possible to match to the exact course in every case. Mentors and mentors are always matched according to faculty, and usually according to broad subject area.
'Can mentees request a mentor with a certain kind of background?’
If a mentee has a particular reason for requesting a mentor with a certain background, the co-ordinators will aim to fulfil the request. It may not be practical to fulfil the request in some cases.
Questions that mentees frequently ask their mentors
Mentees ask mainly practical questions about living in the UK or studying at the university. Here are some examples of questions that mentees have asked:
‘How do I go about finding accommodation near the university?’
‘Where is the best place for food shopping on a budget?’
‘How can I get a season ticket for travelling to and from Cardiff by train?’
‘Who should I see for help in getting a part time job?’
‘Where can I go to get help with referencing?’
‘Where’s J Block?’
Mentors provide information if they can, or they sometimes refer queries to other support services or members of staff, with the mentee’s consent.