As an alumni mentor you will offer support and guidance to students and fellow alumni. You may be surprised at the amount you have to offer and how your feedback can motivate and educate others. There are no set expectations for what you will cover with students as each individual or student group will define their own goals. Student feedback shows that those alumni who provide guidance, helpful information and are comfortable sharing their own career journey are the most appreciated.
Ask the student about his or her goals:
What are you hoping to gain from our interaction?
What is your area of study or emphasis?
Why are you pursuing your degree?
When are you planning to graduate?
What are your initial plans after graduation?
Be willing to share your perspective.
Be available and willing to give advice and guidance. Students are usually hungry for any information or insight you can offer regarding your industry, company, job function or past experiences. Expect to be the expert in the relationship or help the student find other appropriate resources.
While you can indicate your preferred method(s) of contact, we encourage you to be flexible about connecting with students. Depending on your schedule, you can connect with students via email, phone appointments and/or meet in person. You can also set guidelines about the number of calls or emails you're willing to receive a month.
Initiate. In order to sustain the mentoring relationship, take the initiative to ask your mentor a question, to let him or her know your educational and professional interests and objectives, and to ask about his/her own experiences.
Honor your commitment. Your mentor has volunteered to take on the added responsibility of mentoring. Please be appreciative of his or her time and investment; respond in a timely manner to your mentor's questions and comments. If you don't have the time to respond at the time, send a short message letting him or her know you will be in contact when you have the opportunity.
Expect Support, Not Miracles. You can expect a certain level of support and advice from a mentor, but he or she can't solve your problems for you. Perhaps the most valuable quality a mentor can offer is perspective. A mentor can put the situation in perspective, offer feedback, serve as a sounding board, and identify resources that may be helpful to you.
Communicate clearly. Initiate contact with your mentor if you have questions or need to discuss something. Identify your needs and communicate them as clearly as possible to your mentor. It may be helpful to put some focused energy into organizing your thoughts and concerns before talking to your mentor, so that the time is spent wisely.
Be Teachable. Be willing to learn new things, obtain another perspective, and be responsive to suggestions.