My mentors in high school, college, and graduate school pushed me to become the best version of myself. I find that a mentor for every stage of academic life is extremely important. For the college admissions process, you can look to a high school teacher, guidance counselor, or friend who has already gone through the process successfully. Here are four steps to finding an academic mentor:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask.
If you’ve identified someone you think would be a perfect mentor, don’t worry about whether he or she is too busy. There’s no point in recognizing the need for you to grow and to receive academic guidance if you don’t shoot for a mentor who is successful and probably stretched for time. Have the confidence that the reply will “yes!” What have you got to lose?
2. Choose someone with a different perspective.
Try to find a mentor who will challenge your thinking and show you there might be a different way to approach a problem, or an additional potential, one you never knew existed. Having empathy for others is a huge part of being successful in your academic career, so even if you don’t agree with someone on any given subject, you’ll find that at least understanding another’s point of view will greatly help your college application process.
3. Seek out more than one.
It is important to begin building a “board of advisors” to help with multiple aspects of your college application process. No one person will have all the answers, so choose a number of different mentors with different backgrounds and experiences to shape your goals and outcomes in a more wholesome way.
A mentor/mentee relationship should never just be a one-way affair. Try to make it useful for your mentor by asking what he or she might like in return. Many will say that giving of their time is a way to give back and help to shape someone’s future. But never assume. For some students, a formal process of seeking out a mentor is the best way to go, but some mentoring relationships seem to grow organically. Take a look around you right now at some of your teachers and older friends. Some of them might be acting as your mentors already.
Now, get out there and find yourself a mentor! Ivy Global has a great consulting service with successful college graduates who can act as mentors.
- Kristin Rose