The experience of being at university can be an extremely daunting one. It is very different from the school experience, and can leave students feeling lost and overwhelmed at times. The Faculty of Humanities has a number of support systems in place to help students make this transition as comfortable as possible.
What is Peer Mentorship?
Research has shown that pairing first-year students with a more senior student in a mentoring relationship can significantly improve their university experience and ultimately their chances of academic success.
In the Humanities, first-year students are paired with a senior Humanities student who has been carefully selected and trained, and who is closely supervised throughout the year:
- Mentors and mentees meet on a weekly basis in the first semester, as a group with other mentees, or on an individual one-to-one basis.
- Each week, mentors present to mentees a particular topic, which has been chosen because of it’s relevance to the first year of study.
- Mentors provide their mentees with support and guidance in terms of the adjustment to life at university, and know where to refer students should psychosocial or academic problems arise.
How can I access Faculty support and mentorship?
- All first-year students on the Extended Degree are allocated mentors as part of the compulsory support put in place for them.
- A mentor is also available to all other first-year students who feel they could benefit from this mentor relationship. If you would like to have a mentor, email the Humanities Mentors. There is limited availability, so send in your request as close as possible to the start of the first semester.
How do I sign up to be a mentor?
- Any Humanities student in second year and beyond can apply to be a mentor.
- The recruitment process begins at the start of the second semester every year. You will see posters up around campus which explain the application process. Alternatively you can email the Humanities Mentors and request application forms.
- There is a rigorous interview process during which applicants are assessed for their ability to engage and support their peers.
- Once selected, mentors receive thorough training at the start of the New Year, before they meet their mentees in the first week of the first semester.
Value of Psychosocial Support
The academic demands of university can at times feel extremely overwhelming and this can be amplified by any other personal challenges you may also be dealing with. The sooner you access support, the sooner you will be able to get yourself back on track with your studies and avoid falling gravely behind. The Faculty's Student Development Officer is a Clinical Social Worker who provides psychosocial support to all students in the Humanities Faculty. The Student Development Officer engages in short-term supportive counselling and is able to refer you to the appropriate UCT resources should you require additional intervention and help.