Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions
Mentorship programs can be used to help support students with disabilities throughout their entire college/university career. However, mentors can play a substantial role in introducing students to life at college/university, providing practical information, guidance and support, and helping students learn from their own personal experiences. Peer support can lead to lasting friendships and has long term benefits for both the student and their mentor. The following are some tips for effective mentorship programs gleaned from effective practices in some Canadian PSE institutions.
- Match students with current students or alumni with disabilities who can answer questions and provide insight. If possible, matches should be similar to the student in disability type and program area.
- Students with disabilities can be matched with a mentor in a variety of ways. Mentors can be included in a transition orientation session or course. Students would meet their mentor at the event and establish communication. For those who donít attend an orientation session, mentors can also be assigned throughout the summer by disability services and contact provided via email or telephone.
- After the initial contact, students and mentors can interact independently. Follow up sessions can be scheduled periodically with all mentors and students throughout the school year.