The Effects of Formal Mentoring on First-Time Freshman GPA, Course Completion, and Retention Rates

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Susan Smith

Second Advisor

Melvin Lang

Third Advisor

Erich Baumgartner



The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of one quarter of a formal mentoring program on the academic success and retention of first-year university students.


Prior to the beginning of fall quarter 2007, a randomly selected group of 75 first time freshmen students at Walla Walla University (WWU) were invited to participate in an experimental mentoring program. Similarly, a silent control group of 75 first-time freshmen students were randomly selected. Non-student mentors were interviewed and hired to carry out the mentoring project. The retention rate, grade point average (GPA), and credit drop/failure rate of the students in the experimental group were compared to the retention rate, GPA, and credit drop/failure rate of the control group.


The results indicated that though there was not a significant difference in the overall mean university GPA between the two groups, fewer students in the mentored group ended the quarter with a university GPA below 2.0 than did students in the control group. Additionally, mentored students who entered the university with low high-school performance indicators showed stronger academic success than did control group students. And students in the mentored group dropped and/or failed fewer credits than did those in the control group. There were no differences in retention rate.


A longitudinal study is needed to give closer study to the extended impact of mentoring on student success and retention.

Subject Area

Mentoring in education; Academic achievement; Walla Walla University--Freshmen--Rating of; College students--Rating of; College freshmen--Rating of

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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