White, Brooke (2018) The Long and Winding Road to Achievement: Peer Mentoring as a tool for Transition into Higher Education and its impact on Retention and Social and Academic Integration. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This study explores first year undergraduate degree students and undergraduate degree course leader’s opinions, feelings and thoughts about the peer mentoring programme run on a collection of degrees known as the undergraduate framework (UF). The findings are extracted from a number of semi-structured interviews with course leaders and 48 questionnaires from the first year students. The methodology used was an interpretivist inductive qualitative case study, which allowed for the participant’s opinions, feelings and thoughts to be acknowledged. The study aims to identify how the peer mentoring programme can aid the transition into higher education, integration into higher education and retention at the university. Throughout the thesis it identifies the gap in research on peer mentoring and the lack of a universal definition of mentoring and peer mentoring. Furthermore, it discusses the complexity of the term integration, the transition into higher education becomes more apparent through the research data and whether the peer mentoring programme aids the immense and complex gap of transitioning.The study analyses the participants interesting responses about the peer mentoring programme and identifies where the programme may benefit from development.In particular, the key findings focus upon the three main concepts of the study; transition, retention and integration. The study’s findings identify barriers to retaining students and social and academic integration as well as exploring if one type of integration takes priority over the other. The findings also highlight what the participants know about the aims of the programme, how mentors and mentees are matched, how mentees communicate with their mentors and how the university gathers feedback about the programme. It is argued that the responses from participants establish the value that mentees and course leaders attach to different types of integration. Finally, it identifies the potential improvements that,if made, might benefit the peer mentoring programme that is the focus of this study.

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