This is the author's final draft of the paper published as European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 2009, vol. 1. The original published version is available from the publisher's website at: http://www.eurodl.org/This paper reports findings from research into the benefits of e-mentoring for mature students (21 years\ud old and above) preparing for university study through taking Access courses. The research was carried out\ud at Kingston University in the UK in the context of current policies of widening participation in higher\ud education (HE). It was aimed at adding to student satisfaction and retention in university, particularly for\ud those from families without a background in HE. Previous studies suggested that good pre-entry\ud preparation and support improves students' chances of success in HE. This paper describes how an\ud e-mentoring scheme, called eAccess, was developed to prepare students taking Access courses for learning\ud at undergraduate level. The research showed that eAccess supported students in three ways: learning about\ud university life, helping with the HE application process and developing confidence and effective learning\ud strategies. The paper identifies the potential of e-mentoring schemes to enable students to prepare better\ud for HE through the development of social capital which enables them to tap into 'hot knowledge' – an\ud un-codified and un-institutionalised form of knowledge available amongst mature undergraduates at\ud university
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