Peer mentors are effective and relatable coaches because they draw on their own experience of coursework challenges.Peer mentors are effective and relatable coaches because they draw on their own experience of coursework challenges.

Peer Mentor Program

Launched in 2015, the Northwestern CS undergraduate peer mentor program is designed to ensure that students representing a range of computing backgrounds receive individual attention and real-time feedback.

Peer mentors aid students in 100, 200 and 300 level courses. During regular “office hours,” peer mentors answer questions and provide instruction on course material. Mentors' own experience of the coursework challenges is fresh; they are effective and relatable coaches because they all worked hard to succeed in the class. Peer mentors are selected and trained as encouraging and positive role models and are encouraged to embrace a growth mindset.

The program is designed to be rewarding for both students and mentors. Mentors build community with the students they support and among each other. Service as a mentor also makes students more competitive as they go on to apply for jobs or graduate programs.

Connect with a Peer Mentor

Peer Mentor office hours are specific to each class and are advertised locally in the class syllabus, on Canvas, or on a Google Calendar. Students seeking assistance from a Peer Mentor are encouraged to connect with their course instructor, who can provide specific instructions.

Apply to become a Peer Mentor

Each quarter, Northwestern CS hires between 100 and 150 undergraduate peer mentors. Students majoring or minoring in computer science receive an email with a link to an application form in which students select the course(s) they are interested in supporting. Assignments are then determined after instructors review applications and request certain applicants for specific courses, matching peer mentors to course instructors.

Peer mentors are hired for one-quarter appointments and may serve for more than one quarter but need to apply each time. Many mentors remain involved with the same course for an extended period and can have a role in helping faculty develop and shape the classes they support.