Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Cornelious, Linda F.

Committee Member

Prince, Debra

Committee Member

Adams, James

Committee Member

Scott-Bracey, Pamela

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Instructional Systems and Workforce Development

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development


The purpose of this study was to examine the peer counseling/mentoring experiences of African American students involved in a formal undergraduate Peer Counseling/Mentoring program at Mississippi State University. This study specifically examined the Peer Counseling/Mentoring experiences of undergraduate African American students at a predominantly White institution to determine if a relationship existed between peer counseling/mentoring, retention and academic performance. The research design for this study was descriptive, correlational and casual comparative. A pilot study was conducted to detect any problems that should be remedied before conducting the actual study. Based on information gathered in the pilot study, no revisions were required for the survey instrument. Participants in the research study completed a three-part survey instrument. Part I of the survey instrument collected demographic and enrollment data with one question pertaining to participants’ utilization of their peer counselor/mentor. Part II, the Racial and Mentoring Experiences Scale, collected data that examined the participants’ peer counseling/mentoring experiences, the factors that contributed to their persistence, the relationship between grade point average and academic performance, and the difference in grade point average of those who did or did not utilize their peer counselor/mentor. Part III of the survey instrument, an open-ended questionnaire, gathered information regarding the participants’ experiences. The survey instrument was completed and returned by 177 African American seniors from Mississippi State University. According to the findings in this study, Peer Counseling/Mentoring programs support the persistence and retention of African American students at predominantly White institutions. A statistically significant difference was found to exist between participants who utilized their Peer Counselor/Mentor and those who did not. The results indicated that those who utilized their Peer Counselor/Mentor had a higher self-reported grade point average than those who did not utilize their Peer Counselor/Mentor. The Peer Counselor/Mentor program provided participants with a peer who understood their challenges, contributed to their persistence and strengthened their confidence and connection to the university cultural/climate. The research revealed that if administrators desire their African American students to graduate at rates on par with their Caucasian counterparts strong consideration should be given to the implementation of Peer Counselor/Mentor programs.



Peer Counseling/Mentoring||Retention||African American Student Retention