The South Carolina Honors College Peer Mentorship Program connects freshmen with an upperclassman mentor who can help them adjust to life on
campus and in the Honors College during their first year. The program, established
in 2017, currently has about 130 participating mentees and mentors bonding over texts,
calls, in-person meetings and fun events.
“When I first started out, my peer mentor reached out to me, and she helped me talk
about my classes because she’s also a computer science major,” said Emma McBride,
a freshman participating in the program. “She also walked me through my classes. And
conveniently we are in the same econ class – she sits right next to me.”
Mentors are expected to provide their mentees with support throughout the year. However,
participants have control over how much or how little support they receive. Some mentor/mentee
pairs talk daily, while others communicate only when they need a little extra support
“The best part of the Peer Mentor Program is that it’s truly individualized. So if
we have a freshman who just needs help once a month and during exams, then the peer
mentor is able to do that. They are OK with being a little hands-off or being super
hands-on, and it’s unique to the Honors College. It’s giving honors students the specific
experience they come here for and allows them to get the most out of all the honors
opportunities,” said Cameron (Cami) Reed, the Honors College events coordinator and program director.
As part of the program, events are held every semester to help participants meet each
other. In fall 2021, peer mentors participated in an opening event, movie night, bowling
night, a Build-a-Buddy event and a white elephant gift exchange.
The majority of students who participate in the program have such a great experience
as a mentee that they apply to be a mentor the following year.
“I had a really good mentor when I was a freshman. So it kind of made me like want
to do that for other people,” said Lela Springsted, a senior participant.
The Honors College encourages upperclassmen to become mentors, and incoming freshmen
can learn more about signing up for the program through the Peer Mentorship Program homepage. Open in February each year, and information sessions will be held throughout the
spring semester for students who wish to become mentors.
Caroline Evans is a freshman in the South Carolina Honors College majoring in multimedia
journalism. Originally from Barbourville, Kentucky, she plans to pursue a career in
scientific journalism. She interviewed Howell for an assignment in her Honors JOUR
101 class, taught by Dr. Andrea Tanner.