Peer Mentoring to Enhance Graduate Students’ Sense of Belonging and Academic Success

in Kinesiology Review

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Ting LiuDepartment of Health and Human Performance, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA

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YuChun ChenSchool of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY, USA

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Michelle HamiltonDepartment of Health and Human Performance, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA

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Katie HarrisExercise Physiology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

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Peer mentoring is a learning process wherein a more experienced student provides advice and support to a less experienced student during their academic career. At the graduate level, peer mentoring has been shown to increase social support, career readiness, retention, and graduation rates among first-year students. In spring 2021, the Exercise Science graduate program at Texas State University initiated a peer mentoring program. The participants reported that they felt more integrated in the graduate program. Meeting and socializing with mentor/mentee have enhanced their sense of belonging and relatedness, especially during COVID, when students felt more isolated. The professional relationship made them more prone to return and strive for academic success. This article describes a peer mentoring program that has been successfully implemented in a kinesiology graduate program and makes recommendations for universities to study the impact of peer mentoring on marginalized student well-being, retention, career readiness, and academic success in future research.

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