How to Mentor a College Student

How to Mentor a College Student
  • Opening Intro -

    If you are a college graduate, you may have been approached by your alumni group for financial remuneration.

    Furthermore, you may have also been asked to mentor one or more students.


Mentoring is simply a process where you advise or train another individual — in this case a college student. If mentoring is something that you want to do, then these steps can help you achieve that goal.

Step No. 1 — Initiate or respond to a mentoring request. If you are asked by your college to mentor a student, then simply respond to that request as instructed. You will be put in touch with a college official to expedite the process. However, if you want to mentor and have not been contacted by the college, then contact the school’s alumni association for guidance. Otherwise, contact the college’s student services department for direction.

Step No. 2 — Decide what support you can provide. Mentoring can be approached in a number of ways. You may feel more comfortable with simply advising the student, sharing the different types of courses he or she might take or suggest an academic path that could benefit the student the most. Another option is to directly teach the student, by offering tutoring services. Specifically, you might review a paper, go over assignments or discuss options for a term paper. Determine the paradigm that is right for you and make your desires known before being assigned to the student.

Step No. 3 — Receive student information. Likely, your college will refer a student to you based on your requirements and the student’s needs. Certainly, these students will be matched to the best possible choice. In that case you will review the student’s information and decide whether this is an individual you can help. If so, then reach out to that student directly to begin your mentoring relationship.

Step No. 4 — Establish contact and build a relationship. Begin your mentoring relationship by setting up a phone or an in-person meeting. If you are local, endeavor to meet this individual in a public place. If you are remote, exchange email addresses and offer your phone number for contact. Get to know this individual, explain who you are and iterate your interest in mentoring. Consequently, be forthright in what you can offer, establishing expectations. However, you may learn that the student has other expectations in mind — see if you two can find a common ground. Otherwise, the mentoring consociation may not be an ideal fit.

Step No. 5 — Pursue a friendship. Unlike the usual professor-student relationship, you can establish a friendship with the mentee, knowing that you won’t unduly influence this individual. Furthermore, you can begin to build a foundation for a lasting relationship, one that can help this student launch his or her career. Indeed, you may discover that the mentee has as much to offer to you as you do to him or her. The interrelation will certainly grow and evolve as you allow it to.

Mentoring Considerations

In view of the importance that you place on mentoring, you may find that the student is not similarly inclined to reciprocate. In particular, he or she may not show commitment to the relationship. It is at that point you should decide whether to continue with the mentor-mentee relationship or ask the college to be assigned to a different student.

See AlsoCSU Mentors Help Challenged Students


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Categories: Education Tips