Background The number of students selecting careers in primary care has declined by 41% in the last decade, resulting in anticipated shortages. Methods First-year medical students interested in primary care were paired with primary care mentors. Mentors were trained, and mentors and students participated in focus groups at the end of each academic year. Quantitative and qualitative results are presented. Results Students who remained in the mentoring program matched to primary care programs at 87.5% in the first year and 78.9% in the second year, compared to overall discipline-specific match rates of 55.8% and 35.9% respectively. Students reported a better understanding of primary care and appreciated a relationship with a mentor. Conclusions A longitudinal mentoring program can effectively support student interest in primary care if it focuses on the needs of the students and is supportive of the mentors.