Three Moments Everyone Experiences as a Peer Leader

After their PeerForward workshop, Peer Leaders return to their campuses eager to support their classmates through the year. As they run schoolwide campaigns and events, Peer Leaders realize that as peer-to-peer mentors, there are some moments that all experience.

1. The moment they get asked a LOT of questions.

Oxon Hill Team

Once their PeerForward team is introduced, it’s not uncommon for Peer Leaders to suddenly find themselves answering a lot of questions about the college application process. 

“I was at lunch – it was just after our first assembly where we [Peer Leaders] introduced ourselves – and I just sat down and all of a sudden I’m surrounded by 10-15 students with a whole bunch of college questions. Some of them were freshmen! I realized, wow, people have a lot of questions.” – Jordan Dunston, Oxon Hill High School

Even with the sudden onset of attention, Peer Leaders feel prepared to help. Using tools like the Peer Leader Playbook and LinkForward, they’re able to find up to date information on the college application process. Their resources don’t stop there; Peer Leaders create strong relationships with their advisors and school counselors so if they encounter questions that require more guidance, they know exactly who to turn to.

2. The moment they have to get creative.

Public Service Community School FAFSA Event

Helping their peers understand the college and financial aid application simultaneously requires a creative teaching approach. With the help of their Playbooks and PeerForward Coaches, Peer Leader teams find creative ways to get their classmates on a path to postsecondary success. Like Arquimides’ team at The Public Service Community School in Los Angeles, CA. 

“With my team, we are working on running a contest for FAFSA and a Kahoot! game to inform others on how they can apply and different [financial aid] terms. We also make bonding activities, like how the PeerForward team makes activities instructional but also heartwarming so you can interact with different people and learn from each other.” – Arquimides Lopez, Public Service Community School

3. The moment they recognize the impact of their presence.

Avianna Daniels

Never underestimate the power of having your peers by your side. The sensitive nature of having to discuss your family’s background and finances can make applying for financial aid difficult to talk about. Peer Leaders show us that the best way to support students and parents throughout the experience is by treating them with empathy, respect, and encouragement.  

“It was humbling to know that our peers looked to us as guides who they could turn to in distress or on the verge of crying,” says Avianna Daniels, senior Peer Leader at The American Sign Language and English Secondary School. 

By being honest about their own journey, they help dispel doubts about what is possible for others on a similar path. Avianna continues, 

“Personally, I had a hard time filling out my FAFSA, and when I saw someone in my same situation and both the student and parents were stressed and ready to give up, I told them that it was okay. Eventually their FAFSA went through, and a challenge that seemed impossible was very possible.”

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