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Welcome to the Mentor Learning Center

The Mentor's Role: from High School to College

So much changes after high school! Watch the video below to hear advice from other mentors and mentees who have gone through the transition before you. You’ll learn about the ups and downs of maintaining a relationship after high school, and get powerful advice about how to stay effective and connected in this time of transition. Then, read on for more detail.   

This article is meant for mentors entering into the Post-Secondary Success Program. The article discusses the ways in which the mentor’s role changes between the High School and Post-Secondary Success Program.

Overview of the Post-Secondary Program

The Post-Secondary Success Program combines the individual support of a mentor, the expertise of staff, and high quality resources and events to create an ecosystem of support for each student.

How this works

  • The Post-Secondary Success Program staff offers resources and opportunities to support mentees through various experiences that we can predict they will have at some point during college
  • Mentors help mentees navigate these resources, for example by helping them identify the program resources and opportunities that matter most to them at any given time
  • Mobile alerts advise mentors of topics that might be relevant to their mentees and help them evaluate whether their mentees need support
  • When unpredicted challenges or unique needs arise, mentors communicate with Program Managers, who provide expert guidance and support

What’s changing for the mentor?

In high school, your mentee took a class with our staff once every week. During class, their staff person taught them about important topics and gave them time to communicate with you on the platform. You also met at in-person events . Your staff member planned activities to help build your relationship and work on important tasks. Everyone worked together to help your mentee get into the college that was best for them: your staff person always knew the right topics to cover and guided your involvement at every step in the process.

Now, our mentees are moving into different colleges all over the country. They will no longer attend weekly classes with our staff. Instead, they’ll be pursuing different areas of study in different environments, on their way to different career paths. They will have different strengths and challenges, and different access to support systems. Though we know of many topics that will apply to our mentees, those topics might apply to each mentee in very different ways and at very different times.  

Because of this, we’ll need to rely on you to know about the experiences that your mentee is having in college. Your staff person will continue to be the expert on college persistence, but you are now the expert on your mentee. Together, you will collaborate to help your mentee reach their goals!

Mentor Responsibilities

We’ve structured mentor responsibilities in the Post-Secondary Success Program to help you collaborate with your Program Manager as effectively as possible. The three primary responsibility areas include:

  1. Talk to your mentee regularly: so you remain the expert on your mentee.
  2. Respond to text reminders: so you are aware of resources that might apply to your mentee.
  3. Connect your mentee to resources: so your mentee can access the right support at the right times.

Read more about each responsibility below.

Talk to your mentee regularly

In the Post-Secondary Success Program, your Program Manager will rely on you to know about the experience your mentee is having in college. Your Program Manager will then work with you to help you figure out what kind of support is best for your mentee, given the experiences they are having.

In order to collaborate in this way, it is important that you stay in touch with your mentee. You should stay in touch with your mentee as much as you need to feel familiar with the experience they are having in college and to demonstrate as best as you can to your mentee that you are available if any challenges arise. Unlike in the high school program, we will no longer prescribe a specific communication frequency (i.e. once per week). We understand that as students move into college and become adults, communication may fluctuate, and we want to allow your mentor-mentee relationship to evolve accordingly. If you are ever unsure how often to reach out to your mentee, your Program Manager can help you determine the best communication frequency for you.

Respond to text reminders

Text reminders will alert you to program resources and opportunities that could pertain to your mentee. These texts are automated and will often ask a question to help you determine what kind of support your mentee might need. When you reply to texts, you will receive more support based on your mentee’s individual circumstance.

For example, a text alert might ask, “Has your mentee received a tuition bill yet?

  • If you reply yes, you might receive a resource about some important things to review on a tuition bill.
  • If you reply no, the text might alert you that deadlines are approaching and encourage you to help your mentee follow up with the Bursar Office to ask when they will receive their bill.
  • You can also always reply asking for help. Your Program Manager will see this and send you a personal reply.

Connect your mentee to resources

When you learn about resources and opportunities from a text reminder, from your Program Manager, or from somewhere else, take the time to learn about them and consider how they could be useful to your mentee. When resources are relevant, discuss them with your mentee, and set aside some time to help your mentee apply learnings or take advantage of related opportunities.

Tips for working with your Program Manager

Remember that your Program Manager will no longer see your mentee weekly in class. Because of this, it is important that you and your Program Manager collaborate, and that you communicate with your Program Manager proactively. 

Here are some tips for working with your Program Manager:

  • Share information: the more information you provide to your Program Manager, the better they will be able to support you. Even "I'm not sure" is helpful information, and your Program Manager can support you based on this experience.
  • Stay in touch with your mentee: remember that your PM is an expert in college persistence, but you are the expert on your mentee. Staying in touch with your mentee ensures that you and your Program Manager can select resources and opportunities for your mentee that are relevant for the experiences your mentee is having, and it puts you in a position to know when challenges arise for your mentee. The more proactively you stay in touch, the easier you make it for your mentee to reach out if problems arise.
  • Respond to text reminders: you will receive more individualized resources and support when you respond to the text alerts that you receive. Additionally, your Program Manager will see your responses and use this information to support you.
  • Ask for help: your responsibilities in the Post-Secondary Success Program are difficult, and broad. If you ever feel unprepared or uncertain, ask your Program Manager for help. They are there to support you but will not know that you need more support unless you ask!
  • Share ideas: our Post-Secondary Success Program is growing, and we are constantly developing new resources and opportunities for our mentees. As you experience the program, please share your ideas for resources that you would find helpful or ways that we can improve.