Applications Now Closed – Check Back in November 2017

Mini Study Groups (MSGs) consist of 5-10 students who study together every week for an introductory science course. It’s a way to meet friends in large classes, build better study habits, and work together to understand course material.

Each MSG is lead by an MSG mentor. MSG mentors have the opportunity to develop leadership and public speaking skills, as well as pass on knowledge and share their enthusiasm in subject areas that they are interested in. MSG mentors are expected to meet with their group for one hour per week during the semester, and meet with the MSG Director once per month.


Applications for MSG Mentors are now closed.

Applications for Winter 2018 will open in November. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

Mini Study Groups (MSGs) FAQ

Q: Besides the 1 hour, once a week session, is there any other time leaders will preparing, booking rooms etc?

A: The required time commitment is only 1 hour, but it is recommended that sessions be 1.5 hours. Other time spent for Mentors will include booking rooms, answering questions from students via email, and preparing themselves to ensure their knowledge is sufficient to guide students in their studies. Some Mentors will additionally prepare review packages, worksheets, etc. for their students, but this is optional.

Q: Are the MSG groups asked to do an evaluation after the last study group session? Are the leaders? How will ISSS get feedback from students and leaders during the term?

A: Yes, there will be a participant survey distributed close to the end of each term. We are thinking of implementing an incentive to increase the response rate of these surveys as well. Around the middle of each term, there will be a Mentors meeting in order to discuss any possible issues or feedback that the Mentors have experienced. Also, mentors and students are free to email the Director of MSGs ([email protected]) about any of their questions or concerns.

Q: Is there a certificate of participation for the MSG leaders? How else will they be recognized?

A: The ISSS considers MSG Mentors to be a specialized group of volunteers and they are included, therefore, in all of our volunteer recognition events and logs. Volunteers who go above and beyond in their tasks or for the organization have comments added into the volunteer log for the purposes of references, etc, in addition to their hours to ensure that they are recognized for their work.

Q: What happens if the MSG Leader can no longer participate mid- year? What if they are way on holidays or due to illness?

A: We expect that when a Mentor applies and commits to the MSG program, they will be there for the entire term. Certain circumstances will permit missing a session or two, but it is expected that this be kept to an absolute minimum and if possible, that these missed sessions be made up sometime else with the Mentor coordinating this with his/her students.

Q: What are MSG leader’s responsibilities? (Notifying students if they will be absent or late, reporting at risk students?

A: The Mentor is responsible for notifying his/her students where their sessions will be held, if there is a change to the venue or time of the session, and if he or she will be late or absent. The Mentor is not required to report at-risk students, but they are encouraged to refer them to more personalized guidance such as Student2Student or private tutoring services if the issue is academic, or to Mental Health Services if there are signs of severe stress, depression, and/or burnout.

Q: What courses will be offered?

A: Courses offered last year included introductory BIOCH, BIOL, CHEM, CMPUT, IMIN, MATH, MICRB, PHYS, PHYSL, PSYCO, and STAT courses, as well as a several second and third year science courses. However, the courses offered are highly dependent on the applicants and what courses they are willing to mentor. Once all the mentors have been interviewed and finalized, there will be a better picture of what courses we will have MSGs for.

Q: Where do the groups meet? Who organizes/books this?

A: Mentors are responsible for choosing the location of the MSGs and if necessary, booking these locations. Typically, the location is in the study group spaces in the campus libraries.

Q: What type of training is offered to the leaders? Mental health? Academic misconduct guidelines and policies? Student Services?

A: There will be a required orientation session and training session for Mentors held on consecutive days shortly after the beginning of each term. The orientation will go over the ISSS and the services offered in addition to the MSGs. The training session will specifically cover how Mentors can effectively aid their students in their studies. In this session, the Director of MSGs will review the academic misconduct policies and guidelines; also included will be a section devoted to recognizing the signs of mental stress and depression so that Mentors can identify at-risk students and refer them to the appropriate services.

Q: How are MSGs different than the services offered by an SU tutor, department seminars/help centers and session?

A: One of the big advantages to the MSGs is that since it is a weekly session with one Mentor, the students can develop a rapport with their Mentor. This is hard to establish in departmental help sessions as each time the student may encounter a different adviser. Another advantage is that students can establish friendships with those in the same MSG and can work together outside of these sessions to benefit each other in the course they are studying; this additionally takes some of the workload off of the Mentors. This would be difficult to accomplish for one-on-one tutoring sessions or departmental seminars. The MSGs are also beneficial to students because it is a dedicated time each week for the student to focus on that specific course and to ask questions on material that is unclear or confusing to him/her that can be answered in person by a Mentor. Even if a student is familiar and confident in the material, they also can help other students in their MSGs who are not, and by teaching others, they can solidify their understanding and knowledge.

Q: How does ISSS plan to promote MSGs?

A: The ISSS plans to advertise through posters around campus, the ISSS website, Twitter, and Facebook pages, and also through classroom presentations during the first few weeks of each term.

If you have any more questions, feel free to email [email protected]!