Mentors play an important role in the lives of the students who participate in Project Career. Whether it is information related to improving academic performance, making good connections with faculty and other students, or making course selections that will result in desired employment outcomes, a mentor can provide a wealth of useful knowledge. Mentors also be very helpful as graduation nears and it is time to move into the employment setting.
Within Project Career, we use mentors at two different levels. Students who are still early in their academic program (e.g., Freshmen and Sophomores) are typically paired up with a mentor who is a more advanced student in the participant's chosen field of study. Usually, this is a person who is closer in age to the participant and therefore likely to be less intimidating. This also is a person who has successfully navigated the required courses and can provide information related to the best sequence of courses, class instructors, and study and test taking skills. Once a participant reaches their Junior year in college, the Project Career Technology and Employment Coordinator (TEC) encourages a move to a mentor who is employed in the appropriate field. This mentor can provide information about available internships, professional association membership, and making good connections in the field. As the participant nears graduation and the job search process, this mentor can provide vital assistance in locating available positions, interviewing, and negotiating for a good job.
In many instances, a student may be hesitant to work with a mentor. It can seem overwhelming at first to communicate with an established professional or to schedule the time necessary to communicate with a mentor on a regular basis. But doing so can have results that will positively impact a career for many years to come.
To learn more about mentoring, check out some of these resources: