Questions about how to best maintain current enrollment numbers is an important and timely topic in higher education. To address this concern, researchers at New York University College of Global Public Health recently published an article in The Department Chair entitled “Implementing a Peer-Based Support Program: How One Program Increased Enrollment and Reduced Summer Melt.” The article’s lead author is Dr. Jason F. Arnold, director of global health programs, operations & special projects at NYU. The article was co-authored by several MPH students in the global health concentration, who also serve as mentors in the program.
The article describes the benefits of a peer-based mentoring program, which was recently pilot-tested at NYU, to assist incoming master’s students with the admissions and enrollment process. The article reports preliminary finding from the program, which has been successful in every area of its focus. For example, the department of global health produced the highest number of deposits for any MPH concentration at the college during this admissions cycle and exceeded its matriculation targets by 36 percent.
“Based on the success of the program, we plan to use the peer-based mentoring program throughout the student’s time at the college and expand it to other departments at the college,” says Mr. Arnold, who created the mentoring program with the approval and support of the admissions office. “We are interested in examining what influence peer-support programs may have on promoting diversity in college enrollment and exploring what effect participation in the program may have on student’s workplace skills.”
The authors also report several benefits of the program. For example, peer-based support programs have the ability to offer personalized responses to accepted students’ admissions-related questions, as well as provide a better sense of community.
“Being a peer mentor has connected me with a diverse group of unique and creative people from all corners of the world,” says Ms. Ashley Newcomb, who co-authored the paper and served as a mentor in the program. “I’ve learned so much from each of my mentees!”
The other co-authors of the article include Ms. Emily Holzman, Mr. Vaibhav Srinivasan, and Ms. Kiera Bloch, MPH.
“Department chairs play an essential role in supporting accepted students throughout the admissions process,” say Ms. Bloch. “We hope that this article provides guidance to administrators at other institutions about the possible role mentorship programs can play in increasing enrollment at their college, possibly from underrepresented groups.” Ms. Bloch is a graduate of NYU and is now a program administrator in the department of global health.
Global Health is the fastest growing department at NYU College of Global Public Health, as well as the largest. In the Fall of 2018, the department of global health enrolled over 150 master’s students in the following concentrations: global health; environmental health sciences; and the online UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) MPH.
Read more about the department.