Student Mentors: Your Complete Guide

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There are countless benefits of receiving student mentoring. Read on for everything you need to know about student mentors.

A student mentor will help you go far while you’re in school. Student mentors can provide academic, personal and professional help and can be a source of support when you need it most. Student mentees gain valuable skills from their mentorships including networking, research and internship opportunities, and special insight from someone with more experience or knowledge in your field. It’s not hard to find student mentors either, check it all out in our complete guide.



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What is a Student Mentor?

Let’s start with what a mentor is. A mentor is someone who likely has more work or life experience than you do, regardless of age. Someone that you look up to and that has achieved some things in their lives that you also hope to achieve. Someone that you can see similarities between who they are or what they have done and what you aspire to do or be as a person. A mentor can have varying responsibilities, formality of relationship, and time commitments. Every mentoring relationship is different.


A student mentor differs in that this mentorship relationship is specifically tailored to help students succeed in school. Student mentors may meet weekly with students to encourage, listen and make suggestions on their current activities and classes. A student mentor may also allow a student to get involved in the mentor’s workplace to learn about the field and make connections.



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How To Find a Mentor as a Student


1. Go through your school:


Many schools have mentorship programs and you can find them on your school website or through an advising center.



2. Check with friends and family:


They might know someone in your desired field who is willing to have regular meetings with you.



3. Research on LinkedIn:


See if you have any mutual connections with a potential mentor and reach out to them.



4. Ask other mentees:


Find out how they found their mentors, and ask them to make an introduction.



5. Your past jobs as a resource:


Use your previous managers or supervisors.



6. Ask another student/peer:


Upper-class students can make great student mentors. Ask your instructor if they can help make an introduction.



Characteristics of Effective Mentors

  • Great listening skills
  • Excellent communication
  • Wide network
  • Past experience with mentorships
  • Specialised advice and enthusiasm in your field
  • Gives constructive feedback


Why You May Need A Mentor

  • Receive academic help
  • Learn study skills
  • Improve social skills
  • Have the attention of another caring adult
  • Discover new options and opportunities
  • Set goals for the future


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Benefits of Mentoring in College

There are so many benefits of receiving student mentoring while you are in college. First of all and simply put, you are much more likely to succeed. This is because there is someone checking in on you, someone to look up to and to check your goals with. You will have someone who has had more time in your field to bounce ideas off of and build your career path with.


Your mentor will likely give you an “in” either in your industry or school. This could lead to study, work or research opportunities. To take advantage of this potential benefit of mentoring, make sure to be constantly checking in with your mentor about what they are working on, or be clear about your interest in finding internships or other opportunities.


Building your network early on. Your mentor is an industry professional and is an excellent start to building your network. See if you can spend a day at their workplace to even further build your network.


You will develop strategies for dealing with personal and academic issues. Coming to your mentor with personal, professional and academic concerns and conflicts will give you the experience to deal with them on your own for the next time they may arise.


Exposure to new perspectives. Your mentor may be someone in your typical circle of contacts, or they might be someone you never would have developed a close relationship otherwise. Either way, you can take advantage on the new perspectives they may have on life, goals, and career paths.


From your mentoring relationship, you will gain both leadership and communication skills. Reaching out to your mentor at regular intervals and keeping in touch about goals will give you excellent communication skills. Hopefully, you will also be able to gain leadership skills by helping your mentor with any projects they may be working on as well.



Mentorship Programs

University of the People offers a special mentorship program. This particular mentorship program offers mentors who are professionals in their respective industries and valued members of the UoPeople global community.


Through this mentorship program, UoPeople students will receive help creating and achieving personal, professional, and academic goals. The goal of the program is to create a well-rounded student on a path to success in both academics and life post-grad.


Many other universities also have a mentorship program that you can sign up for. Your college may have a list of available mentors you can contact, or you may need to go through your school’s or program’s advisory faculty to get linked up with one that meets your needs. These student mentors are usually alumni or industry professionals with an interest in the school, but may also be upperclassmen at your college.


You may also benefit from a student mentor who has gone through your specific program, either an alum or peer. Finally, it’s important to note mentors will be able to offer varying time commitments within these mentorship programs. Some programs will be by term (semester or quarter), others may be for the duration of your college experience.



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Creating a Great Mentor Relationship

Something to keep in mind is that your student mentor should not be treated as your personal tutor or study partner. For simple homework help or proofreading, use an actual tutor, peer, or TA. Your student mentor should help you along with the big picture and provide you with support that is related to school but not necessarily small assignments.


Put yourself in your mentor’s shoes. They are likely to want to help but may not have all the time in the world for you as a busy professional or student. Make sure you know your limitations and boundaries with their time. Be clear on when it is appropriate to reach out to them, and be sure to ask if they have time for a chat before you call. And of course for your meetings, whether face-to-face or virtual, always be on time!


When you do meetings or phone calls, ask questions and have ideas for the conversation. Come prepared and not only will your mentor be impressed, but you will gain much more from your sessions together.


Don’t forget about what your mentor is doing. See if you can contribute and expand on what they are doing as well in their field whether it’s offering ideas for a business project or seeing if you can help with research.


With all of our tips, you are sure to find a great mentor, and build a great student mentor relationship that is beneficial for both yourself and your mentor!