Parents & Family

Mentoring Fosters Personal and Professional Growth

Whether it's encouraging your student to challenge presumptions, or to gain resume-enhancing skills through hands-on initiatives, or to strive for the top rung of a career ladder—a mentor is important.

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. They also can assist with career preparation through internships, informational interviews, networking and job opportunities.

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—including personal and professional.

For example, a mentor can benefit your student personally by helping him or her self-define strengths and weaknesses as well as to explore areas of leadership, esteem and character. This person also can assist your student in times of frustration and challenge.

A mentoring relationship also can be that of a professional nature. In this case, a mentor can help your student prepare for graduate school and employment through academic preparation and experiential learning opportunities. Professors often serve in this role.

Qualities of a good mentor

In choosing a mentor, your student should look for someone who:

  • He or she admires and respects, both personally and professionally
  • Can be trusted with confidential information
  • Meets his or her mentoring needs—personal and/or professional
  • Shares similar values, ethics and morals
  • Will be honest and offer constructive criticism as well as positive feedback. Has good listening and articulation skills
  • Is positive natured
  • Understands the role of a mentor and is committed to helping students