What Is the Peer Advisor Program?
Nationally recognized for "exemplary practice in achieving campus diversity," the Peer Advisor Program was established by the University of Virginia's Office of African-American Affairs in 1984. It assists Black first-year and entering transfer students with their college transition by providing personalized, sensitive support and counseling. In addition, the program offers a wide range of activities from orientation to workshops and seminars to academic recognitions.
What Are the Program Goals?
- To provide students with a caring, supportive environment
- To promote academic excellence
- To inform students of the services and resources available at the University of Virginia
- To encourage involvement in University organizations and activities
- To foster University "ownership" and pride
- To increase retention
How Does the Program Work?
The Office of African-American Affairs assigns each entering Black student an upperclassman, a "Big Brother" or "Big Sister," who serves as a resource throughout the academic year. The pairings are based on academic and extracurricular interests. For example, engineering students are matched with engineering Peer Advisors, architecture with architecture, etc. Peer Advisors meet with students individually and plan group activities to help ease academic and social transitions.
What Do Alumni and Students Say?
"It was the Office of Admissions that attracted me to the University of Virginia. It was the Peer Advisor Program that kept me here."
"My Peer Advisor has been an asset in helping me settle into life here at UVA. She has made a difference and taught me some of the important intangibles that are necessary for survival…"
"'I am truly thankful that the University of Virginia and the Office of African-American Affairs provided me with the Peer Advisor Program. I was given an opportunity, like no other, to meet other entering first-years and to form a bond and a friendship with my advisor, who always unselfishly gave me support and love. The program has been a blessing to me and to other entering students."