Explore College Mentorship Programs

Explore College Mentorship Programs

By Katy McWhirter

Published on May 19, 2021

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Participating in one of the many college mentorship programs can help students prepare for future careers. Most importantly, you learn how your prospective industry functions so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to pursue a career in the industry.

From an academic perspective, spending time in a professional setting can help you apply real-world experience to school projects and better understand the theoretical knowledge you gain in class. These opportunities also allow for networking with professionals in the field prior to graduating.

As with scholarships, plan to start your search for college mentors locally. By taking this approach, you can learn about schools and local organizations offering college mentorship programs.

ALA Spectrum Scholarship Program

Established by the American Library Association, the ALA Spectrum Scholarship Program provides scholarship, learning, and mentorship opportunities for minority students in pursuit of a master's degree in library sciences. Applicants must plan to apply to a library science program or already be enrolled in one and have at least one year of study remaining.

Awarded to approximately 60 winners each year, this $5,000 scholarship comes with access to the Spectrum Leadership Institute during the summer, which provides professional development and mentoring resources. Spectrum Scholars can also join mentorship programs, such as opportunities offered through the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Fashion Scholarship Fund

The Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) provides over $1.2 million in annual scholarships to promising fashion students. The nationwide program begins with the Case Study Scholarship, which awards $7,500-$17,500 to more than 200 winners, who also gain access to career events, internships, and a mentoring program.

The FSF Mentor Program partners with over 500 mentors from major fashion organizations, allowing participants to learn from a mentor with firsthand industry experience. Applicants must possess a minimum GPA of 3.2 and attend one of the more than 60 FSF member schools.

Golden Door Scholars

Founded in 2013, Golden Door Scholars provides financial support for undocumented students or learners with DACA or temporary protected status for which federal financial aid may not be available. The program boasts more than 430 recipients who have received access to career services support, internships, and professional development opportunities.

Additionally, the Golden Door Scholars program connects winners with a mentor network for personal and professional advice and support. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma and must attend or plan to attend an undergraduate program.

HEAR Scholarship Foundation Mentoring Program

The HEAR Scholarship Foundation Mentoring Program provides first-generation and low-income students with mentoring opportunities and support during their studies. High-achieving students from the Chicago metropolitan area can also qualify for a $20,000 scholarship.

This mentorship program provides a specific mentor for each student. These experienced professionals provide advice and support and assist with career and internship searches. The program connects scholars with their peers and members of their cohort, along with running various mentoring workshops and events.

NACE Mentor Program

Provided by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), this mentorship program helps NACE members find mentors based on college, employer, interests, and geographic region. After matching with a mentor, students work with them to determine the length of the mentorship program.

Candidates should be recent graduates looking to broaden their professional skills or move from one career to another. Mentors and mentees meet both virtually and in person and should plan to spend at least one hour per month in discussion.

SkillsUSA

The Student2Student Mentoring Program provided by SkillsUSA is a national initiative that brings together older and younger students to help younger students explore possible future career paths. For example, high school and college students may mentor middle schoolers.

To get involved, students must attend a secondary school or college that has a SkillsUSA chapter. University students mentoring secondary school students may also qualify for college credits.

StudentMentor.org

At StudentMentor.org, more than 20,000 mentors and mentees across the country have connected to form meaningful relationships. Students from over 2,000 colleges use the program to improve their skills and prepare for the workplace.

Once students join, they can choose a mentor from an extensive volunteer network. Mentors and mentees can choose the desired length of the mentorship and are matched based on their interests. Mentors can support students in many ways, including by helping a student develop their communication skills.

TeamMates Mentoring

Since 1991, TeamMates Mentoring has enrolled more than 10,000 students in its school-based mentoring program. The program covers more than five states and 170 school districts, and it has contributed to students receiving more than $3 million in scholarships.

Participants meet with mentors once a week to play games, talk about school work, and chat about life, all with the goal of providing support for students. Members may also receive in-school support services and gain access to program coordinators to help them develop an educational action plan.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund | Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholars Mentorship Program

The TMCF and the Walmart Foundation's First-Generation Scholars Mentorship Program connects first-generation higher education students with student mentors attending one of the program's 47 member schools. Mentors must attend historically Black colleges and universities or predominantly Black institutions and possess a minimum GPA of 3.25. Mentors receive a $500 stipend for their services.

Participants who sign up as mentees receive academic and career guidance, along with help adjusting to academic and campus life.

UStrive

Established in 2015, UStrive helps students navigate the college and university landscape by connecting them with mentors who can guide them. The program provides access to mentors and helps learners complete college applications, apply for financial aid, and find promising career pathways.

Mentees can sort through a list of mentors and choose the most appropriate person to speak with. They can choose mentors who attended a specific school, studied a certain discipline, or work in a particular industry. Connections can take place over the phone or online, and participants can pick specific topics to discuss.

Frequently Asked Questions About College Mentorship Programs

How can a college student start a mentoring program?

First, check to see whether your school already participates in a mentorship program that connects students to industry leaders. If not, research local organizations in your field and ask about any mentorship opportunities currently available. If you cannot find anything local, look at regional and national companies and organizations.

What are the different types of mentoring?

Mentoring can take place in many different formats. The most traditional format — one-on-one mentoring — matches a student with a local professional. Distance mentoring allows learners to take advantage of mentorship regardless of location. Group mentoring brings one professional together with a group of mentees.

What is the difference between a traditional college mentorship and peer mentoring?

A traditional college mentorship involves students seeking advice and guidance from someone who has worked in their chosen field for a time and can offer real-world wisdom. Peer mentoring brings students and recent graduates together to share knowledge and experiences.

What are some best practices for college mentorships?

To get the most out of the experience as a mentee or mentor, you should always be prepared for meetings. Mentees must be ready to drive the relationship by setting up meetings and creating agendas based on their needs. Keep your focus on meeting goals and further developing yourself as a professional.

How can I become a college mentor?

As a professional, you can reach out to mentorship programs listed above or work directly with the department of career services at a local college. For students, learn whether your school maintains any relationships with middle or high schools. If not, consider starting a chapter.

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