It’s the week after the release of A-Level results, and like all university departments around the country, this means that we are starting work now on welcoming our incoming first years to Nottingham in September.
Everybody speaks of the enormity of the changes that await students starting their first term at University, and just how steep the learning curve for many of these students will be. What gets covered less in the media, perhaps, is the fact that many universities have developed innovative and exciting programmes in place to help students make this transition.
Nottingham is at the forefront of these: meet the ‘Art History Buddy Scheme’, our pioneering peer mentoring scheme. In a nutshell, experienced students from years 2 and 3 become mentors to a group of first years and help them settle in. They focus on the academic tasks that can seem unsettling at first, but soon become second nature. Check your pigeon holes and the notice boards, lecturers say. First years want to ask where those pigeon holes are. But often they don’t ask, for fear of appearing silly. The peer mentors are there to look after practical issues like this, as well as offering more general advice on settling into life at university.
The scheme we run in Art History has had a successful pilot year, and we were really pleased that we were funded by the University of Nottingham Impact campaign for rolling out the scheme – please have a look at the link above to get a sense of just how much it helped current students to have the support of ex-students. So, we are back for our second year, having trialled the scheme, learnt from things that went well, and quite a few that went not so well, but ultimately, what matters is that students starting University in September will have help at hand to make their transition from school to University a positive and actively engaged one.
On this blog, over the course of the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to the students who make this scheme possible. And they can tell you in their own voices why mentoring matters.
Follow our progress both on this blog and also on our designated mentoring Twitter account @UoNArtH_Mentors.