This is your mentor to-do checklist for the summer after freshman year. Click here to download and print out your checklist:
✔ Reach out to your mentee and ask if they want to meet up in person.
( ) Pair outings don’t have to be serious or feel like work. Reaching out to your mentee to meet up for a meal or do a fun activity can be the perfect way to reconnect.
( ) Don’t forget to celebrate your mentee for finishing their first year of college.
✔ Learn about sophomore melt and ask your mentee about their plans for the fall.
( ) Read this Learning Center article about sophomore melt and how to prevent it.
( ) Review your matriculation plan from last year, and check in with your mentee about key deadlines, such as FAFSA verification, class registration, and making a payment plan. Ask your mentee about their plans for sophomore housing and getting back to college.
✔ Support your mentee in developing their academic, emotional, and financial skills.
( ) Use this guide to ask your mentee about their first-year grades. Celebrate any successes, and learn about the common issue of academic probation and how students can bounce back.
( ) Ask your mentee if they would like to help you research the transfer application process, put together their application documents, or look for transfer-specific scholarships like this one from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. If they are interested in putting together a new college list, try reviewing these resources about how to make a college list.
✔ Help set your mentee up for job and career success.
( ) If your mentee is interning, working, or volunteering, share resources to help them get the most out of the opportunity.
( )Help your mentee find a flexible job if they need one.
( ) Watch this video about how to help your mentee kickstart their networking.
( ) Offer to help your mentee update their resume and LinkedIn profile at the end of the summer.
Starter discussion questions for summer after freshman year
What are you doing this summer?
How are you feeling about being home/out of school?
Do you want to meet up for lunch/coffee (or another activity your mentee would enjoy)?
Would you like to come to my job and meet some of my co-workers?
Have you gotten your spring semester grades yet? Which grade are you the proudest of? Which one do you feel you most want to improve in the fall?
How is your internship/job/volunteer job going? What are the best and worst parts about it? What is your boss like?
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to new freshman?
Are you still thinking that you might want to major in _________ ?
Who are you going to live with in the fall?
Do you want help updating your resume?
How are you feeling about the start of the fall semester? What are you looking forward to? What are you not looking forward to?
Key takeaways/Persistence Milestones:
The end of freshman year is an important milestone for first-year college students. First year grades are strongly correlated with long-term persistence and success, yet how students interpret and respond to those grades can play just as important of a role.
As a result, the first summer after freshman year of college is a critical time for students to learn from freshman year. Looking backwards to reflect on their accomplishments and what they learned can help keep or get students on track. Looking forward, too, can provide an important source of motivation and connection. Whether you are talking with your mentee about potential majors, helping them kickstart their networking, or supporting them to build professional experience and connections through their internships, when students deepen their career aspirations, they are more likely to go back to and succeed at school.
In addition to academic and emotional support and motivation, logistical support - from FAFSA verification to help finding a short term job to help finding sophomore housing - can help stave off sophomore melt and support students’ continuous enrollment.
Before students return to school of course, most students live and work from home for the summer. For students that went away to college, this extended return home can be a mixed experience. While students are most likely excited to relax and reconnect with old family and friends, they may also get into conflict their families who may have different expectations for their newly independent children. First-generation students may also feel guilt at having left, or difficulty communicating with family members about the college experience. For those that do struggle with this balance, it’s important to spend quality time for with family while still maintaining a clear sense of their purpose and identity as college students.