Parents & Family

Mentoring Fosters Personal and Professional Growth

Whether it's encouraging your student to challenge presumptions, or to gain resume-enhancing capabilities through hands-on initiatives, or to strive for the top rung of a career ladder—a mentor can have an impacting and important role for your student.

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. 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—personal, professional and/or career-associated. For example, a mentor can benefit your student personally by helping him or 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 in times of frustration and challenge as well as 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 a career through experiential learning opportunities. Because the nature of this focus is often academic, professors aptly 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, professional and/or career-associated
  • 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