OBSA Peer Mentorship
A 5C Mentoring program that matches incoming first year students with upperclass student mentors of African descent.
OBSA Mentorship is a community that provides social connections, access to resources and information, academic support, skill-buidling workshops and an array of identity-based activities for first year students of African descent.
Each year, we request demographic information (students who self-identify as having African descent) from the 5 undergraduate colleges and invite these students to apply. Whether or not you receive this email, you can access the application from June-August each year on this webpage! The yearly deadline to apply is mid-August, however we accept applications case-by-case and on a rolling basis through October, depending on the availability of mentors. Early application is encouraged.
Where to apply
Mentee applicants will receive a confirmation from our staff within 2-3 weeks or sooner. Our invitation timeline will vary depending on the date(s) each college responds to our office’s request for incoming student contact information, so you do not need to wait to receive an invitation from us to apply!
Application is required for enrollment and we try our best to ensure student preferences for mentors are met! This is a 5 college program with students representing each of The Claremont Colleges. Depending on mentor availability, students can expect a mentor that shares a combination of their home college, field of study, extracurricular interests and cultural background.
The program is designed to work WITH your academic responsibilities, extracurricular activities, employment and other obligations. Events that are mandatory are announced early and spread throughout the semester during times we anticipate students are most available.
While the expectation is that students participate as fully as they are able and meet the requirements for participation (consistent communication and follow through for both mentors and mentees), the program is flexible and individual support is built into the structure to ensure the experience is tailored and smooth for each student.
About OBSA Mentors
Mentors volunteer and are trained by OBSA staff prior to entering their mentoring relationships. Most mentors are former mentees or have participated in previous years as a mentor. They are engaged leaders committed to the success of their mentees, and use their knowledge as current students to provide perspective, guidance and a personal connection.
Groups of 2 or more mentees (incoming first year students) are paired with 1 rising sophomore, junior or senior mentor. There are typically 28-30 mentor-led groups each year. Mentees can expect to get to know an array of students at all levels by participating in activities with mentor-led groups and programwide events organized by the OBSA Mentorship manager.
OBSA Mentorship is led by a graduate student manager employed by OBSA and supervised by the OBSA Dean. The graduate student manager designs program events, manages selection of mentors and mentees, creates mentor groups and communicates regularly with program participants with news, reminders and to respond to inquiries.
Yearly Mentorship activities
Mentorship activites range from self-care workshops, social events, learning workshops designed to make college life easier, off campus outings and more. Offerings change year to year based on our student feedback. Here is a month-by-month timeline:
Mentees are given status updates about their enrollment and informed of their mentor group information. Mentors initiate contact and are encouraged to set up a meeting time once classes start to get to know their group members.
Mentors plan a meeting with their groups and/or attend the program Meet and Greet, after classes being. This is an introductory event with food and icebreakers to get to know the ~70 Black student participants, OBSA staff and what to expect.
Mentors and Mentees are invited to participate in the Annual OBSA Mentorship Retreat (online signup is sent to all participants in August) which occurs mid September at Pali Mountain resort. This is an overnight experience to encourage community, plan for the semester, engage in reflection activities and discussion and meet supportive staff and faculty.
Mentors participate in their second training event in late September
Mentorship events and workshops occur monthly, and all participants are invited to participate based on their availability. Mentors are provided a stipend to support mentor group activities and are required to make up to 3 points of contact per month with mentees (a combination of in-person, online and phone communication), as well as participate in surveys detailing group progress.
OBSA Mentorship is invited to attend the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration at The Claremont Colleges, organized by OBSA and the 7C Planning Committee.
OBSA Mentorship is invited to participate in an array of exciting programming for Black History Month, and mentors are encouraged to attend with their mentees. OBSA’s Black Intersections Conference occurs at the end of the month, and OBSA Mentorship participants are encouraged to present and/or attend an array of workshops, panels, performances and community events.
Recruitment for OBSA Mentors for the following academic year begins, with interviews scheduled for spring.
OBSA Mentorship events and activities continue.
Mentor interviews, selection and training occurs.
Program concludes and programwide evaluations are collected.