Formal mentoring programmes continue to gain popularity in higher education, mirroring trends in industry. The study described in this article examines the design features of a formal mentoring programme for first year undergraduates and focused on three key aspects – the matching process, training and orientation, and interaction frequency. The programme allows mentees to interact vertically with academics and horizontally with peer mentors. The results indicate that students completing the programme have positive transition experiences and become more engaged and integrated into the university. The experience gained in this study can be transferred to other higher education institutions that are in the process of either designing or implementing formal mentoring programmes. Implications of formal mentoring programmes and recommendations for future research are discussed.