Here is your mentor to-do checklist for the spring semester of freshman year. Click here to download and print out your checklist:
✔ Re-visit your mentee’s academic calendar (on their college website).
( ) Put key dates in your calendar, including the drop/add deadline, spring break, midterm and final exam schedules. You may have to check the financial aid and housing offices to find out college-specific deadlines for financial aid and sophomore housing.
( ) Reach out to your mentee around key deadlines, whether it’s to remind them about the drop/add deadline, find out about their housing plans, or sending a “you got this” text or care package at exam time.
✔ Ask your mentee if they would like your help with any aspect of summer planning.
( ) Your mentee is more likely to take you up on specific offers, so offer to help research internship opportunities or funding sources; help them with resume preparation and interviewing, or networking.
✔ Support your mentee academically.
( ) Ask which of their new classes they like the best and least, and what they are doing differently or better than they did the first semester.
( ) Share your own stories of academic struggle and what you did to help yourself succeed. Share these advanced academic resources about how to get yourself interested in classes or participate in class discussion.
( ) Find out if your mentee has met with their academic advisor this semester. Mentees may only be required to meet with their advisor once a year, but more frequent contact is important not just for academic success, but also for picking a major and networking.
✔ Support your mentee with transferring (if they want to).
( ) Spring semester of freshman year is the perfect time for your mentee to start thinking about where they might like to transfer once they have their Associate’s Degree. You can offer to help them research or check out 4 year colleges that they might want to attend.
✔ Support your mentee socially and emotionally.
( ) Ask your mentee how it feels to be back at school after the break.
( ) Ask your mentee how much sleep they are getting, and what they do to de-stress. If you are worried, make sure to read iMentor’s guide to discussing mental health with your mentee.
Starter discussion questions for spring of freshman year
How are you feeling about being back at school after break?
What’s your favorite organization or club on campus?
What’s your favorite class? What’s your least favorite class?
What would you do this summer if you could get paid to do anything?
Do you have midterms coming up? What worked for you last semester? Is there anything you want to do differently?
Does the weather affect your mood?
Have you decided where you’re going to live next year (or who you’re living with)?
April can be really stressful for a lot of people. Is there anything that helps you with your stress?
If you look back at the goals you set for your first year, set new goals for the year ahead? What do you want to keep doing? What do you want to do differently?
Are you planning to take summer classes?
- Would you like to visit, or check out, some 4 year colleges with me?
Congratulations on finishing your first year out of high school! What advice would you give to new grads?
Key takeaways/Persistence Milestones:
In their second semester, students may be settling into the new academic and cultural expectations of college, which makes this an ideal semester for students to celebrate their successes and also explore what might earlier have felt like “extras,” such as extracurricular and social activities, and meetings with with faculty. Research shows that both peer-to-peer relationships and relationships with faculty are correlated with persistence (Berger &Milem 1999; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1980; Tinto, 1975, 1997; Titus, 2004).
The spring semester is also a key time for students to plan summer options. In addition to relationships with faculty and staff, internships offer a critical chance to build a pre-professional network and career experience. With support - especially in finding funding - first-generation college students can access these important summer opportunities.