RISE Peer Mentoring Program

University of Mary Washington
RISE Peer Mentoring Program

Upperclass students, complete the 2023-2024 RISE Peer Mentor Application today!

First-year students, complete the 2023-2024 RISE Peer Mentee Application [PDF]  or 2023-2024 RISE Peer Mentee Application [DOC] today!

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Mission Statement

The RISE (Resources Inspiring Student Excellence) Peer Mentoring Program is designed to provide a connection for first-year, underrepresented students in their transition to the UMW community by providing support and resources to increase their success and engagement with the university.


To increase retention by alleviating initial isolation, increasing student involvement and interaction, and providing the student with additional encouragement and inspiration to be successful by bridging the gap between institutional services and support systems.  A series of programs and activities are designed to assist students with their adjustment to college life.


  • Provide assistance and direction to incoming first-year and transfer students
  • Introduce students to UMW and Fredericksburg resources
  • Support and encourage students to maintain a good academic standing and participate in institutional activities
  • Encourage team building and leadership development among mentors
  • Identify and implement specific networking activities among peer mentors and mentees
  • Provide support and resources to help students adjust academically and socially to the campus community.

Program Benefits

Mentor – leadership opportunity, networking

Mentee – feeling of belonging, academic/personal/social resources and activities, enhanced awareness of campus and community resources and services, personal satisfaction, positive campus experience, higher level of confidence and self-esteem

Institutional – increased retention and graduation rates of underrepresented students, increased student satisfaction, more positive alumni

Program Overview


RISE Mentees

Mentee Qualifications, Responsibilities, and Expectations

RISE is open to incoming freshmen and transfer students from underrepresented populations (racial, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQ+ students, first-generation students, veterans, etc.) to assist in effectively connecting them to the Mary Washington community.  Once accepted into the program, new students (mentees) will be paired with continuing students (sophomores – seniors) as their peer mentors. Mentees will be matched with peer mentors based on several criteria and preferences, e.g., race, gender, religion, academic major, interests/hobbies, etc.

Responsibilities include:

  • Expressed commitment to the program
  • Maintain weekly contact with peer mentors
  • Attend RISE academic and personal development workshops
  • Attend at least two RISE social activities per semester
  • Attend at least two university-wide programs per semester

Expectations include:

  • Complete end-of-semester evaluations in the fall and spring
  • Comply with the University’s Principles on Diversity and Inclusion, Statement of Community Values, Honor Code and Code of Conduct

Email questions about the Mentee applications applications to the James Farmer Multicultural Center at jfmc@mail.umw.edu

When a student has been accepted to the program, they will be notified of this decision via email and invited to attend the RISE Meet and Greet which occurs within the first week of the fall semester.  During the RISE Meet and Greet, mentees will meet their mentors (if they haven’t already met them) and receive an overview of the program including the expectations for participating in the RISE Program.  At the Meet and Greet, mentees will also confirm their commitment to the program by completing a Mentee Contract.

RISE Mentors

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Mentor Qualifications, Responsibilities and Expectations

Peer mentors are provided with excellent leadership and networking opportunities.  Any current freshman, sophomore or junior student may apply to serve as a peer mentor.  The qualifications for participating as a mentor include:  (1) having a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5; (2) good interpersonal and communication skills; (3) previous leadership experience; (4) involvement in campus and/or community activities; (5) commitment to diversity and multiculturalism; and (6) knowledge of campus and community resources.  Students interested in serving as peer mentors are expected to commit to the program for the entire academic year.

Peer mentors are paired with mentees based on several criteria or factors, e.g., race, gender, sexual identity, academic major, religion, interests/hobbies, etc.  The peer mentors play a vital role in assisting with the adjustment and success of new students to the campus community.  Therefore, there are specified responsibilities and expectations they have to embrace.

The responsibilities include:

  • Initiate contact with mentees during the summer
  • Maintain weekly contact with mentees
  • Participate in one group activity once a month
  • Attend at least two (2) university-wide programs per semester
  • Complete monthly Activity Log

The expectations include:

  • Attend and participate in a two-day mandatory training workshop
  • Participate in an end-of-semester assessment
  • Maintain the minimum grade point average of 2.5
  • Comply with the University’s Principles on Diversity and Inclusion, Statement of Community Values, Honor Code and Code of Conduct

In addition to the unique leadership experiences, another great benefit includes a book stipend each semester.  All peer mentors are recognized throughout the campus for their role in helping the new students transition and be successful in their first year at UMW.

Any interested student may complete a Peer Mentor Application Form, which is available via the James Farmer Multicultural Center’s (JFMC) website at www.umw.edu/multicultural.  When a student has been accepted to the program, they will be notified of this decision and invited to attend the Welcome Reception, which takes place within the first two weeks of school.  When the new students arrive to campus, there will be an initial meeting of incoming mentees to provide them with a brief overview of the program.  At this meeting, the mentees will also confirm their commitment to the program by completing a Mentee Contract, which basically reiterates their responsibilities and expectations.

Mentor Selection Process

All new peer mentor applicants are required to engage in an interview and provide one letter of recommendation from a UMW faculty or staff member or a recent job or community outreach supervisor. The interviews will take place during the first half of the spring semester.  The final selection of mentors will occur by the fourth week of March.  The successful applicants will receive a notice of the decision with further instructions regarding their participation.

If you would like to be a RISE Mentor, please complete the

2023-2024 RISE Peer Mentor Application

  If you have questions, please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at 540-654-1044 or email  jfmc@mail.umw.edu