The Value of a Mentor

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By: Ellie Shulman

For many undergraduate students, the feeling can seem overwhelming. It can often appear that every individual in their lives has an opinion about what their next career move should be post-college. This intimidating feeling often follows college students throughout their undergraduate studies.

So what can undergraduates do to help themselves achieve success in their post-college careers?

Although the answer to this question is simple, the execution is harder. College students should seek out a mentor throughout their four-year studies. This strategy is proven to help students succeed post-graduation.

A recent study by Gallup, published by Inside Higher Ed, demonstrated the success of having a mentor during one’s undergraduate studies. It was found that students who had a mentor or professor who showed a personal interest in their success post-college often ended up in careers that they thoroughly enjoyed.

The shocking aspect of this study was that only fourteen percent of recent graduates remembered having such an individual in their lives during their time in college.

So what should current students do in order to help find suitable mentors?

College students should ingratiate themselves with professors who they admire. This often requires students to step outside their comfort zone and interact with their professors outside the classroom. Make an appointment to meet with a professor during their office hours and ask them for guidance about your post-college career. Professors will admire that students are seeking them out and inquiring about their ideas.

In a recent USA Today article, Jonathan Gibralter president of Wells College explained “Although you may feel inundated with advice about what to try in college and tips for success, summoning the courage to open up to a mentor can change your life”

Do you believe in the importance of students seeking out a mentor while completing their undergraduate studies? What attributes do you think are most important in a mentor?

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