The Peer Mentoring program was created to decrease inappropriate early attrition and promote academic success in PhD programs at Washington University in St. Louis. The purpose of the program is to facilitate relationships between more advanced PhD students and first- and second-year students. Such relationships can be helpful for emotional and academic support in general, but ultimately they can prevent first- and second-year students from leaving the PhD program unnecessarily. While some attrition may be natural and expected, often attrition from PhD programs is motivated by feelings of inadequacy and a lack of support. The Peer Mentoring program is designed to help students cope with those feelings and provide a system of support.
Peer mentors are students in each Graduate School department who provide encouragement, information, and personal and professional support to students who are just beginning a graduate program. They can give advice on coursework, research, degree milestones, and professional protocol.