Mentoring Fosters Personal, Professional, Career Growth
With over 50 percent of the students reporting having had a professor-mentor during their college years, the value of these individuals is substantial.
Mentors can be professors, administrators, staff, coaches, alumni, career-affiliated professionals and other individuals who motivate and lead your student to areas of growth and achievement through exploration, focus and action.
While some mentoring relationships develop on their own, others are concerted efforts. A student may have one mentor or a number of them who fulfill differing needs (e.g., personal, professional and/or career-associated). If your student doesn't have a mentor, he/she may want to consider the benefits of having one.
For example, a mentor can benefit your student personally by helping him/her to self-define strengths and weaknesses as well as to explore areas of leadership, esteem and character. An invaluable resource, this person can assist your student during times of frustration and challenge as well motivate him/her to achieve personal growth.
Another key mentoring role can be that of a professional nature. In this case, a mentor can help your student prepare for graduate school and/or a career through experiential learning opportunities. Because the nature of this focus is often academic, professors aptly serve in this role.
At BW faculty and students interact through research studies, projects and co-curricular activities. The Faculty-Student Collaborative Scholarship Program is an umbrella initiative that promotes inquiry-based learning, scholarship and creative achievement.
Mentors also can assist with career preparation through internships, informational interviews, networking, job opportunities and more. The Office of Career Services can be an important first step in establishing connections. Likewise, participation in co-curricular opportunities can help your student establish community, professional and business ties.
Qualities of a Good Mentor
In choosing a mentor, your student should look for someone:
- He/she admires and respects, both personally and professionally.
- He/she trusts with confidential information.
- Who will meet his/her mentoring needs (e.g., personal, professional and/or career-associated).
- Who shares similar values, ethics and morals.
- Who will be honest with him/her and offer constructive criticism as well as positive feedback.
- Who has good listening and articulation skills.
- Who is positive natured.
- Who understands the role of a mentor and is committed to helping students.