"When people push us, it just makes us feel better" : a multi-case exploration of the tools, relationships, and contexts of near-peer mentoring for college
This study sought to explore the unique ways near-peer mentors serving in three different public high schools help historically marginalized students address and overcome informational and psychological barriers to college. Through a multiple case-study examination of various mentoring tools, student-mentor relationships, and school contexts, data and analysis indicate near-peer mentors utilized instrumental tools to support student informational needs and relational tools to emotionally support and push students along the complex path to college. This pushing leveraged shared elements of cultural capital for relationship building and attended to student psychological needs to navigate the path to college with emotional support. Mentoring tools expanded on traditional notions of capital to embrace and illustrated the importance of critical forms of capital, especially navigational and aspirational, often necessary for students from low-income, first-generation college, and/or underrepresented minority backgrounds to successfully transition to college. Finally, the social context at each school played an important and overarching role in the way near-peer mentors interacted with students to both support those already positioned as college-bound as well as welcome students exploring or attempting to construct a college-bound identity. As a result, examining the nature and nuances behind individual and collective college-bound figured worlds provided rich insights into existing and new opportunities for expanding access to college-going possibilities to more students.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.