Analysis on the effects on academic performance of mentoring and supporting international undergraduate Direct Entrant students

Ridita Ali, Angie Lauener and Mo Rezai
Sheffield Hallam University

The purpose of this research is to comprehend the methods and outcomes of mentoring international students in Sheffield Hallam university to enhance their academic performance. These findings may benefit other UK universities and they build on the work of Iannelli and Huang (2013) on student mentoring and Leslie (2005), Morrison (2005), Myers (2014) and Richardson (2008) on international student performance in the UK. In this research, benefits for the senior students, who acted as the mentors, were also investigated. The research was conducted on a small group of Engineering and Computing undergraduates and their mentors during academic years 2014-5 and 2015-6. The mentors were international postgraduate students who were recruited by interview and trained in mentoring. Findings presented in this paper demonstrate how mentoring can help international students achieve better results in their fields of study. Quantitative research findings showed that there is a direct positive relation between mentors with relevant subject knowledge and the final results of students who engaged. Qualitative research on outcomes for mentors showed benefits, including increase in confidence and enhancement of their CV. This research highlights the advantages of creating an informal learning space outside of the traditional classroom, face-to-face or virtually, bringing together international students from similar disciplines with similar needs. The outcomes of this research have implications for mentor training and practice at Sheffield Hallam University. By capturing the findings of an experienced mentor, this research contributes to the on-going aims to provide relevant, integrated and cost-effective support for international students to enhance their student experience.
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