12 May 23 Why Every University Needs a Mentoring Programme: The Benefits of Mentorship
Universities have a significant impact on the lives and careers of students and young people. While academic programmes equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their chosen fields, there is frequently more to student success than coursework alone.
A mentoring programme can help students navigate the complexities of academic life and achieve their personal and professional goals by providing additional guidance, support, and resources.
In this blog post, we will look at the benefits of mentoring and why every university should consider implementing their very own mentoring programme.
The role of mentorship in supporting student success and retention:
We know that mentorship can be an effective tool for promoting student success and assisting students in reaching their full potential, but why?
Students can benefit greatly from the guidance and support of a mentor, whether through formal mentoring programmes or informal relationships with faculty members, peers, or professionals in their field.
Mentoring can be an effective tool for increasing student retention at universities. Mentors can help students feel more invested in their education and more likely to stay enrolled by providing a sense of belonging, guidance, and much needed support.
Let’s look at some of the ways mentoring can improve retention rates –
Mentoring provides additional assistance and guidance.
Mentors can assist students in navigating the challenges of college and university life by offering advice and support on a variety of issues ranging from academic coursework to personal and professional development.
Mentoring promotes personal and professional development.
Mentors can assist students in developing the skills and knowledge required to succeed in their chosen careers. This can range from networking and job search strategies to the development of leadership skills and a strong work ethic.
Mentors encourage perseverance and resilience.
Mentors can assist students in remaining motivated and focused on their goals in the face of setbacks and challenges. Mentors can help students develop the resilience they need to overcome obstacles and persevere in their studies by providing encouragement and strategies to help tackle difficult times such as exams.
Mentors champion and encourage academic success.
Mentors can assist students in setting and achieving their academic goals, which can be an important factor in student retention. Mentors can help students stay on track and succeed in their coursework by providing advice on study strategies, time management, and other academic skills. Having a mentor can provide extra support that is needed to get through more difficult times in their academic career, such as exams.
The Benefits Of University Mentoring Programmes For Students From Diverse Backgrounds and Under-represented Groups:
Mentoring programmes can be especially beneficial for university students from diverse or underrepresented groups.
Mentoring programmes can help to provide a sense of belonging and community for students from underrepresented groups, that they might not have otherwise. These students can feel more supported and validated in their academic pursuits by connecting with mentors who share their backgrounds and experiences and who are willing to learn and listen to their personal life challenges. This can range from navigating cultural differences on campus to dealing with discrimination or harassment.
You can read more about mentorship for diversity and inclusion in our previous blog.
Best Practices For Developing And Implementing A Successful University Mentoring Programme:
Set clear goals
Prior to launching your mentoring programme, it’s important to consider and set clear goals and objectives. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal right from the beginning.
Recruit a diverse group of mentors
Recruiting a diverse group of mentors will help to ensure that your mentoring programme is effective for a wide range of students. Individuals from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives may be included.
Provide mentors with training and support
Mentoring can be a difficult role, so it’s critical to provide your mentors with the training and support they need to be effective. This can range from advice on how to build relationships with mentees to methods for providing constructive feedback.
Carefully match mentors and mentees
When matching mentors and mentees, consider factors such as shared interests, academic goals, and personal backgrounds. This can help to ensure a positive and productive mentorship relationship.
Offer ongoing support and resources
Because mentoring is a continuous process, you should consider providing ongoing support and resources to both mentors and mentees. This can include routine check-ins or workshops and training sessions.
Collect and use feedback
Never underestimate the power of data, such as feedback! It’s not only important to collect feedback – but to also take time to review it. This approach will allow you to make sure that your mentoring programme is meeting the needs of your students. Feedback can also assist you in identifying areas for improvement and provide you the opportunity to make necessary adjustments.
In summary, a successful university mentoring programme necessitates careful planning, thoughtful recruitment and matching, ongoing support and resources, and a commitment to collecting and using feedback to continuously improve the programme.
Examples Of Successful Mentoring Programmes At Universities Across The Country:
At sfG MentorNet we are proud to support several universities with their mentoring programme management, via the provision of our online mentoring programme.
You can read from several of our customers including Birmingham City University, Brunel University, Cambridge University and Oxford Brookes University over on our case studies page.
As A University Student Or Faculty Member, Here Are Some Suggestions For Finding Or Becoming A Mentor:
University students seeking a mentor –
Check with your university
Many universities have formal mentoring programmes in place, so the first step is to see if there are any existing programmes in place that you can participate in. If there isn’t, perhaps you can request one or put feelers out to see if your university would consider implementing one!
Approach professors or advisors
If your university lacks a formal mentoring programme, you can approach professors or advisors in your field of study to see if they would be willing to mentor you, even on a less formal level.
Attend networking events
Attending networking events is a great way to meet professionals in your chosen field who might be willing to serve as mentors. To learn more, reach out to your university’s career centre and see if there are any upcoming events you can attend.
Use online resources
For students looking for mentors, online resources such as LinkedIn are available. These platforms can connect you with professionals in your field who are willing to act as mentors.
For faculty members interested in becoming mentors
Check with your university
As mentioned above, many universities will have formal mentoring programmes already in place, so the first step is to see if there are any existing programmes in place that you can participate in as a mentor.
If your university does not have a formal mentoring programme, you can look to approach students in your field of study to see if they are interested in a mentoring relationship.
Attend networking events
Networking events can be a great way to meet students in your field who are interested in mentoring. You can hear about upcoming events from the university career centre or perhaps from other professional groups that you are an acting member of.
Final Thoughts On University Mentoring Programmes:
According to a study by the National Mentoring Partnership, young adults who were at risk of falling off track but had a mentor – were 55% more likely to enroll in college than those without and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions!
Another study by the American Institute for Research found that students who participated in mentoring were more likely to remain in studies, and less likely to engage in ‘risky’ behaviors.
Universities may consider starting a mentoring programme to help students build networks, develop new skills and receive guidance and support from experienced professionals. Mentoring programmes can also help students gain insight into their chosen career paths, learn about the industry they are hoping to work within and gain assistance and support with achieving their personal and professional goals.
If you are looking to start a mentoring programme, or if you have one already but need assistance in terms of managing it – sfG MentorNet may be of interest to you! You can reach out to the team for a free demonstration.