The Evidence Portal

Campus Corps

About the program

Campus Corps is a 12-week early intervention mentoring program. It is designed to prevent futher involvement in juvenile justice, dropping out of school or serious behavioural health problems.  

Campus Corps adopts a multi-level mentoring approach:

  1. Youth are partnered with individual mentors
  2. Four mentor-mentee pairs are then grouped into a ‘Mentor Family’
  3. Mentor Coaches and family therapists provide the Mentor Family with support and supervision

The multi-level structure is designed to promote youth’s connectedness and prosocial relationships. Mentor Families provide a prosocial network for youth to build relationships with other mentors and fellow mentees. They provide an opportunity for youth to build positive relationships with same-age peers and with other adults (in addition to their primary mentor). 

Campus Corps (also known as Campus Connections) was developed at Colorado State University in 2009 and is licensed to other universities in Colorado and The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Who does it work for?

Campus Corps is designed for youth aged 11-18 at risk of delinquency and substance abuse. Youth are classified 'at risk' if they have already committed an offence or if they meet one of six risk factors identified by the Arizona Needs/Risk Assessment. 

This program has only been evaluted in the USA.

A quasi-experimental design study was conducted with 410 people (Weiler et al. 2015). Ages ranged from 11-18, with an average of 15 years old. Most of the sample were white (50.3%), followed by Hispanic (33.2%). 

The program has not been evaluated in Australia or with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities. It has also not been evaluated with culturally and linguistically diverse populations in Australia.

What outcomes does it contribute to?

Campus Corps participants as compared with the control group experienced the following outcomes:

Positive outcomes:

  • More likely to report autonomy from marijuana use. 
  • Lower acceptance of problem behaviours (youth who participated in the program were less likely to percevie deliquency and substance use as acceptable)
  • Reduced frequency of delinquent or substance abuse behaviours.

No effect:

  • Peer refusal skills
  • autonomy from alcohol use.

Negative outcomes:

  • No negative effects reported

How effective is it?

Overall, the program had a mixed effect on measured outcomes.

How strong is the evidence?

Mixed research evidence with no adverse effects:

  • At least one high-quality randomised controlled trial (RCT)/ quasi-experimental (QED) study reports statistically significant positive effects for at least one outcome, AND 
  • An equal number or more RCT/QED studies of similar size and quality show no observed effects than show statistically significant positive effects, AND
  • No RCT/QED studies show statistically significant adverse effects

How is it implemented?

Campus Corps includes 4-hour weekly meetings. In these meetings, mentors and mentees participate in:

  • Walks on campus to promote building relationships, physical activity and education opportunities
  • Individualised educational/career activities to encourage success in school and positive future orientation
  • Family-style dinners to foster relationships, social skills, and connectedness
  • Pro-social activities (e.g. sports, art, cooking, music) to strengthen life skills, self-confidence and productive engagement with the community.

How much does it cost?

Campus Corps program licences can be purchased and include training, support, and programmatic resources. Pricing is not listed on the Campus Corps website.

What else should I consider?

Mentors are undergraduate university students enrolled in a ‘service-learning’ course which includes mentor training, live supervision and ongoing support. 

The multi-level structure of Campus Corps provides in-the-moment support and live supervison for mentors. Mentors are able to rely on fellow mentors and their Mentor Coach for support, advice and guidance. 

The evaluation available of this program found that the relationship quality between mentor and mentee is central to the success of the intervention (Weiler et al., 2015).

Where does the evidence come from?

1 QED study conducted in Colorado, USA with a sample of 410 youth (Weiler et al. 2015).

Further resources

For more information about the Campus Corps program see:

Weiler, LM, Zimmerman, TS, Henry, KL, Krafchick, JL & Youngblade, LM 2015, ‘Time-Limited Structured Youth Mentoring and Adolescent Problem Behaviours’, Applied Developmental Science, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 196-205, viewed 19 February, 2021, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2015.1014484

For further qualitative analyses of Campus Corps, see: Haddock, SA, Zimmerman, TS, Thomas, AG, Weiler, MN, Krafchick, J & Fredrickson, G J 2017, ‘A Qualitative Analysis of Mentee Experiences in a Campus-Based Mentoring Program’, Journal of Youth Development, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 61-80, viewed 19 February, 2021, DOI 10.5195/jyd.2017.496

Last updated:

16 Feb 2022

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