Explore College Mentorship Programs
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- College mentorship programs can help you reach your academic and professional potential.
- Many national scholarships provide winners with access to mentorship opportunities.
- Underserved learners and students of color may find especially high value in a mentor.
- Prospective mentors can give back and help future leaders by joining these programs.
Participating in a college mentorship program can help you prepare for your future career. Most importantly, you can learn how your prospective industry functions so that you can make an informed decision about whether you want to pursue a career in that field.
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 help you network with professionals in your field before you graduate.
As with scholarships, you should plan to start your search for college mentors locally. Below, we introduce 10 of the best college mentorship programs for students.
1. ALA Spectrum Scholarship Program
Established by the American Library Association, the ALA Spectrum Scholarship Program provides scholarships, as well as learning and mentorship opportunities, to students of color pursuing a master's in library science. 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 summer access to the Spectrum Leadership Institute, which provides professional development and mentoring resources.
Spectrum Scholars can also join official mentorship programs, such as opportunities offered through the Association of College and Research Libraries.
2. 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. These recipients 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 professional with firsthand industry experience. Applicants must possess a minimum 3.2 GPA and attend one of the more than 60 FSF member schools.
3. Golden Door Scholars
Founded in 2013, Golden Door Scholars provides financial support for undocumented students. The program boasts more than 430 recipients, each of whom gained 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.
4. HEAR Scholarship Foundation Mentoring Program
The HEAR Scholarship Foundation Mentoring Program provides first-generation and low-income students with mentoring opportunities and support. High-achieving students from the Chicago metropolitan area can also qualify for a $20,000 scholarship.
This mentorship program assigns each student a mentor who can offer advice and support and assist their mentee 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.
5. 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. Students work with their mentor to determine the length of the mentorship.
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 talk for at least an hour a month.
SkillsUSA's Student2Student Mentoring Program is a national initiative that brings together older and younger learners to help younger students explore potential 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 be eligible to receive college credit for their participation.
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 a student joins, they can choose a mentor from an extensive volunteer network. Mentors and mentees can decide on the desired length of the mentorship and are matched based on interests. Mentors can support students in many ways, including by helping them develop their communication skills.
8. TeamMates Mentoring
Since 1991, TeamMates Mentoring has enrolled more than 10,000 students in its school-based mentoring program. The program spans more than five states and 170 school districts and has helped students receive more than $3 million in scholarship money.
Participants meet with mentors once a week to play games and talk about schoolwork and 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.
9. Thurgood Marshall College Fund | Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholars Mentorship Program
The TMCF | Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholars Mentorship Program connects first-generation college 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 3.25 GPA. They also 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.
Established in 2015, UStrive helps students navigate the college landscape by connecting them with supportive mentors. The program offers access to mentors and assists learners with completing college applications, applying for financial aid, and finding promising career pathways.
Mentees can sort through a list of mentors and choose the one they like the most. You can pick a mentor who attended a specific school, studied a certain discipline, or works in a particular industry. Connections can take place over the phone or online, and participants can identify 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 can't find anything local, look at regional and national companies and organizations.
What are the different types of mentoring?
Mentoring can take place in many forms. The most traditional form -- one-on-one mentoring -- matches a student with a local professional. Distance mentoring allows learners to take advantage of mentorship regardless of their location. Group mentoring brings one professional together with a group of mentees, while peer-to-peer mentoring involves students (typically upper-level students) mentoring younger peers.
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 younger and older students (or recent graduates) together to share knowledge and experiences. Usually, an upper-level student in their junior or senior year will mentor a first- or second-year student.
What are some best practices for college mentorships?
To get the most out of the experience as a mentee or mentor, you should always come prepared to your meetings. Mentees must be ready to drive the relationship by setting up meetings and creating agendas based on their needs. Keep your focus on setting (and achieving) goals and further developing yourself as both a student and a professional.
How can I become a college mentor?
You can reach out to mentorship programs listed above or work directly with the career services department at your alma mater or a local college or university. For students, find out whether your school maintains any relationships with middle schools or high schools in the area. If not, you might consider starting your own mentor chapter.
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