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Office of Student Equity

  • About the Program

    What is CMP?

    • The Compass Mentor Program (CMP) is a peer-to-peer program designed to facilitate successful transition and retention of incoming first-year students of color and populations targeted by the Access Center, LGBTQ+ Center, and the Undocumented Student Center. This program promotes and facilitates student interaction and provides opportunities for both mentors and mentees to connect and form strong academic relationships, share knowledge, and work together to succeed in college.

      The program was formerly called the CESJ Student Mentor Program (Community, Equity, and Social Justice Student Mentor Program) as well as the Multicultural Student Mentor Program.

    • The Compass Mentor Program is the newer name for the program with the more intentional collaboration with the Access Center and the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC). All of these respective Student Centers are part of the CESJ Pillar within the Division of Student Affairs.

    • Student Mentors are assigned students mentees. Mentors maintain weekly contact with mentees, and provide personalized and sensitive support for academic, social, and personal development of the mentees through cooperation, understanding and interaction while enhancing their leadership, team building and cross-cultural communication skills.


    What have been the most successful aspects of the mentoring program? 

    • Creates lasting friendships between mentors and mentees.

    • Facilitates first-year students’ adjustment to the University.

    • Retention rates in college of those active in the program have generally been higher than those who were not engaged.

  • Mentor Information

    Why is it beneficial to be a Mentor?
    • Receive academic credit and scholarship.
    • Develop mentoring and leadership skills (including responsibility, initiative, planning, communication, teamwork, creative problem-solving, and cross-cultural competency).
    • Enhance one’s network, by meeting people from different backgrounds.
    • Get satisfaction of working with new students.


    What responsibilities do Mentors have? What are they expected to do?
    • Mentors’ primary responsibility is to facilitate the transition of incoming freshmen students to Washington State University by working with them as guide and resource through this process.
    • Mentors are required to put in 90 hours of work per semester (6 hours/week), this includes hosting office hours, maintaining contacts with their mentees, attending a weekly class, and attending a weekly mentor meeting in which they plan events such as social activities, retreats, workshops, and cross-center events such as conferences.
    What kind of training do Mentors receive?
    • Mentors are carefully selected, trained, guided, and supported in their roles.
    • Mentors enroll in a UNIV 497 course during the Spring before their tenure to learn about the scope of the role and responsibilities. Enrolling in the course is a PREREQUISITE, but DOES NOT GUARANTEE selection as a mentor.
    • Mentors participate in a MANDATORY Fall retreat the week before school starts, in which they receive training on mentoring skills and community building.
    • Continued training is provided through weekly meetings with Retention Counselors at their respective Centers, and through other workshops organized by the Office of Student Equity, Access Center, and LGBTQ+ Center..
    Who can become a Mentor? What are the qualifications?
    • To be considered for a student Mentor position, one must meet the following minimum requirements:
    • Have undergraduate status
    • Have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA
    • Have completed 30 credit hours (45 credit hours preferred)
    • Demonstrate ability to communicate and work well with others
    • Show familiarity with issues specifically related to one the following cultures:
    • Awareness, Strong desire to learn more, or active in the Asian/Pacific American; African American; Chicanx/Latinx, Native American, Cross-Cultural, LGBTQ+,  Access needs community, and/or Undocumented student.
    • (One DOES NOT have to identify personally as one of these identities to be a Mentor).
    • Demonstrate high ethical standards.
    • How do you apply to become a Mentor?
    • You may apply to be a mentor online on the MSMP website (
    • Interested students must complete an online application, write an essay and participate in an interview.
    • They also have to enroll in UNIV 497 in spring semester to be considered for being a Mentor.

  • Mentee Information

    Who are the mentees?

    • Mentees encompass all first year students who identify with one of the following ethnic groups on their application: African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Chicanx/Latinx, Native American, multi-ethnic, and/or undocumented students. The program also works with the Access Center and the LGBTQ+ Center targeting students who would like to be part of the program.


    Why is it beneficial to be a mentee?

    • Guidance with resources on campus (Financial Aid, Health and Psychological Counseling Services, Residence Life, Career Services, etc.) to ensure smooth transition to college at Washington State University

    • Connections to cultural organizations and events and other student groups

    • Increased opportunities to participate in Office of Student Equity, LGBTQ+ Center, and Access Center services (workshops, academic advising, leadership development, technology access) and other activities

    • Mentees have the opportunity to network with other mentees, mentors, and staff creating a community of support and a feeling of belonging. The Centers provide a “home” away from home.

  • Mentor-Mentee Interaction

    How many first-year students actually respond to their mentors?

    • About 60% of mentees are active/somehow active in the program, and students consistently respond and engage with mentors.


    Does the mentoring program have social activities for mentors/mentees?

    • Yes, there are numerous activities planned for mentors and mentees to interact, other than their regular meeting times. Examples are CONEXION, Open House, Halloween Party, and a Spring event such as a Leadership Conference. In addition, there are workshops, study nights, potlucks, movie nights, etc. planned by each student center throughout the school year.

    • Many of these events are also organized by the mentors themselves. This gives them unique opportunity to learn applied skills in project and event management.


    **Research has shown that the first year of college is the most critical for students’ success, and programs such as the CMP significantly influence persistence and retention.

  • Contact Information

    If you have questions or would like to learn more about the program, please contact:

    Stephen Bischoff, Ph.D., | 509-335-7852 | Director, Office of Student Equity