Career Advice Professional Development

How to Find a College Mentor

By: Mariah Rogers
Aug 31, 2020 • 4 min read

Mentor Match

Having a faculty member to look up to and get advice from can be a crucial resource to your college experience. You’ve probably heard of many graduates who think fondly back on a particular professor or staff member who made an impact on them during undergrad. Creating a support system for yourself on campus can enhance your time at school and provide you with someone to lean on when you have questions. Building connections with faculty can also be beneficial when it comes time to search for a letter of recommendation! Here is how to find a college mentor who can help you when times get tough.

Venture Out to Find a Mentor

By all means, if you find a professor whose class you really enjoy, continue to enroll in courses with them! However, branching out and taking lessons with a variety of professors can increase your chances of finding the perfect mentor match. Try seeking out courses in subjects you are new to or unfamiliar with; this is a great way to test the waters.

Utilize Office Hours

Office hours in college are your friend. This is a one on one opportunity to get help on your course work, check in on your progress, or simply just sit down and have a conversation with one of your professors. It’s an excellent opportunity to ask your professors about their past experiences before teaching and about their career paths. If you find overlaps with their experiences and your goals, they may be a great mentor for you! Finding this out early on can increase your chances of getting a great letter of recommendation and finding out about career advancement opportunities from them.

two man and woman holding cups on tables

Look Beyond the Classroom

Your college mentor does not necessarily have to be one of your professors. Look beyond the classroom and make connections with other people on campus. If you have an on-campus job, do you have a boss or supervisor who inspires you? If you are involved in a club or particular society, are there faculty members who you connect with from these opportunities? Maybe your academic advisor has really made an impact on you as a student and person. These can be great places to look when seeking a college mentor.

Alumni Networking

Most college campuses have strong alumni networks that are accessible to current students. These alumni will most likely be very willing to connect with you and share their stories! This is a great way to learn about their undergrad experience, find out any tips they may have, and see if they have any connections or job opportunities for you. Network your way to finding the perfect college mentor. If you’d like to learn more, read our blog on networking here!

Coaches Can Be a Mentor

If you are a student-athlete, you will likely come in contact with a variety of different people related to your athletics on campus. You will probably be communicating with the same coaches, trainers, physical therapists, and nutritionists for all four years, so build these relationships early on! Use your athletic abilities and specialty to network in areas other students are not able to.

man and woman standing on field

Internship Opportunities

The process of getting an internship can be long and stressful. You will likely seek support from many faculty members on campus along your journey to landing work for the summer. Let your connections and relationships develop organically and see if there is anyone who supports the career advancements you have in mind. This can be career coaches and resume writing tutors! Make the most out of your internship and build bonds with your supervisors and coworkers; you never know where these connections can lead you.

Finding a college mentor can be a stressful and inorganic process. But it does not have to be! Follow your path and try to connect with those who help you along the way. You will be surprised as to how many people will be willing to support you!

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