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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Meeting the Academic Peer Mentors

Photo by Photo by Emma Lawson

Laura Gonzalez giving the “Gig ‘Em” while attending her office hours in the Commons office (Commons 102).

Students who need academic assistance from fellow students can turn to academic peer mentors, or APMs, for help. 

APMs juggle many different responsibilities on campus, including holding one-on-one academic coaching, hosting programs and being a resource for academic success, according to the APM website. Students can stop by Hullabaloo 125 or Commons 102 during office hours for help or can sign up for academic checkups, or ACUs, for a more personalized experience. As students themselves, APMs focus on helping students succeed overall more than focusing on individual subjects like science or math, differentiating them from tutors. 

Architecture and urban planning junior and APM Laura Gonzalez said she was interested in the job because she wanted to help students.

“I wanted to help mentor students that are going through the same thing that I was going through,” Gonzalez said. “We’re students going through the same journey as well.”

Gonzalez said her favorite part of the job is holding ACUs with students and they can help with a variety of issues.

“When we meet with a student one-on-one, we really get to know them,” Gonzalez said. “Then, we can help with whatever is needed, whether that be study tips, time management skills, how to study for an exam or even if they want to get involved on campus.”

The APMs are an underutilized resource, Gonzalez said, and she recommends students sign up if they need help or a friend.

“I think a lot of people don’t really know about the APM program,” Gonzalez said. “Just having a buddy who can help you in your journey together can really make a difference academically.”

Civil engineer sophomore Mercedes Villena-Cassal said she started using the APMs as a freshman to learn effective study habits.

“I never had to study in high school, and then, bam, I had to study here. I didn’t know how to do that,” Villena-Cassal said. “They helped me a lot with study tips and other issues.”

Villena-Cassal said the APMs are flexible with their meeting times and places, so if a conflict does arise, meetings can be easily rescheduled. 

Villena-Cassal said she appreciates having a peer to talk to about academics and is still continuing to meet with her APM.

“It’s a friend, but it’s also someone who can guide you,” Villena-Cassal said. “I just mentioned that my test went bad, and the first thing [my APM] said was, ‘We can help you with that.’”

Forensic investigative sciences senior and APM Ashleigh Haughey said there is a distinct difference between tutors and APMs.

“A tutor focuses specifically on an academic subject like math, biology or chemistry,” Haughey said. “We focus on more general skills for college students.”

APMs also focus on hosting large programs, called RevTalk, that are open to all students and feature important information for their college career, Haughey said.

“We choose a specific topic, and we ask a group of panelists to come and answer questions about that topic,” Haughey said. “We just had one about FAFSA, scholarships and financial aid.”

Haughey said she enjoys her time as an APM and students who are interested in joining  can apply online.

“Being an APM is a fun job,” Haughey said. “We’re all friends, so it’s a really good environment to work in. We’re also going to be hiring in the spring for next fall if anyone is interested in being an APM.”

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