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First-Year Law Student Peer Mentoring Via Podcast

by Dr Anita Mackay

To foster wellbeing among first-year law students and support their transition to university, Anita Mackay established a podcast series. The podcasts record short interviews with students who have done well in their first semester core subject (Legal Institutions and Methods), inviting them to (a) reflect on their experiences and (b) provide advice to future commencing first year law students (‘what I know now that I wish I knew before I started this subject’).

It is a form of peer-to-peer mentoring that requires a relatively small investment of resources and provides on-demand support to students as they commence their law studies, promoting student wellbeing and a sense of belonging.

The podcast series has three aims. First, to allay students’ concerns about how difficult studying law might be, which may help to reduce the nervousness experienced by incoming law students. Second, to generate excitement among commencing students about the topics they will be learning about and assessment tasks they will be undertaking, including reassuring them that the tasks will be manageable and achievable. Third, it gives incoming students a wealth of practical tips for success from their peers about a variety of matters, such as the importance of attending classes, suggestions for time management and the importance of self-care and taking a balanced approach to study/life. It is assumed that new students listening to the recordings will be open to taking advice from students who have achieved a good grade in the subject. The value of the podcast series to commencing students in reflected in their willingness to volunteer to be interviewed after they have themselves found the podcast recordings from previous years a useful form of peer mentoring during their first semester.

You can view the full PowerPoint slides from Anita’s presentation here.

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