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Becoming a Mentor

Why should you become a mentor?

When you look back at your own life, you can probably think of a handful of people who have influenced your career or helped you get where you are now. As a participant in the mentorship program, you have the chance to serve in a similar role for a current college student.  Drawing upon your own experience, you can help students discover opportunities in your field, provide constructive feedback, offer valuable professional advice and serve as a role model.

How will the relationship work?

After you are paired with a journalism student, it is up to you and the student to decide how to best proceed with the relationship. This could depend on not only location and availability of both parties but also on student interests and your own experience. Suggested activities are listed below; however, these are only suggestions for an effective mentorship. You have the flexibility to provide any type of mentoring you feel will be beneficial to the student.

Keep in mind that although we strongly encourage students to be proactive, you may need to take the initiative in establishing and maintaining a productive mentoring experience. We realize that you are very busy, but most students will need some “nudging” to get going.

Suggested Activities

  • Talk to the student about your own education and career experiences.
  • Discuss the student’s career interests and journalism experience.
  • Establish regular phone or e-mail conversations to talk about the progress your student is making and offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Be a “sounding board” for the student as he/she establishes career goals.
  • Provide an opportunity for the student to shadow you on the job.
  • Provide feedback on work produced in classes or in student media. (For any class work, please make sure it has been graded first.)
  • Invite the student to professional meetings and other networking functions.
  • Discuss internships and job opportunities with the student.
  • Provide suggestions for creating an effective resume and portfolio.
  • Offer feedback on the student’s resume and portfolio.
  • Conduct mock interviews prior to a student’s internship or job interview.
  • When possible, provide any contact and job lead information.

Length of Mentorship

The program is designed to last for the remainder of the student’s college career. Most students will be at the end of their sophomore or beginning of their junior year when the program begins. It is expected that students and mentors make contact at least twice each semester. If a student fails to maintain regular contact or any problems develop in the student-mentor relationship, please let us know so they may be dropped from the program or reassigned to another mentor. In the event that your schedule changes and you can no longer devote time to the mentorship, please let us know so that your student can be reassigned.

Sign up to be a mentor.