One of the most valuable things that you can receive as a student is good advice. There are many places that you can receive this advice—from teachers and professors, academic advisors, coaches, your parents, your friends, even our website. But one of the best places to get good advice is from a mentor, someone dedicated to helping you out.
A mentor, really, is anyone older than you who takes you under their wing. Mentoring is about giving advice and offering guidance. This can be socially, academically, spiritually, or any other number of ways.
Mentoring relationships are found between friends and family members as well as in other places. There are many formal mentoring programs, but there are just as many informal mentoring relationships. How you find one is up to you.
College-level Entoring Program
Alumni can sign up to be part of this program, and if they do, they are paired with an undergraduate student. Every so often, the mentor and the student meet for lunch and talk. It’s very informal and relaxed, and students can gain a great deal of useful information from the alumni.
Sometimes it’s serious things, like how to make the right decision when it comes to declaring a major. Other times, it’s things like the best bars at which to find cute guys. It depends completely on the mentor and the student.
Finding a Mentor
Whether you choose to engage in a formal mentoring program or just meet up with someone you look up to every once in a while, we highly recommend finding a mentor.
You can use online directories, such as can be found through statewide mentoring partnerships, or talk to someone in at your school (usually academic counselors and career development services have good ideas on this topic).
Mentoring is great for everybody, but it can be especially helpful for college students, so many campuses provide resources for making these connections.
Once you’ve found a mentoring relationship, it’s important to be willing to put time and effort into it. This can be difficult if you’re not a socially outgoing person, but it’s crucial to the effectiveness of the relationship. And because there is so much that you can get out of it, it’s essential to be willing to step out of your comfort zone just a little bit to make the most of it.
Ask questions, share stories, and get to know your mentor. It may be a little awkward at first, but most relationships are—so take some time, be patient, and you’ll be rewarded. Remember this experience, too, because you may find yourself on the other side of the table in a few years!
Mentoring is a very fulfilling experience, and we hope that you’re able to find a mentor that can help you throughout your college years. We also hope that you’ll step up as a mentor yourself one day!