First-Year Mentoring Program FAQ’s
Below are questions submitted by our current mentors from our online FAQ submission form to help us build out training materials and respond to questions.
Have additional questions? Let us know here.
- What if my mentee changes career path/direction? What if I change careers? We expect this to happen, especially with the students/mentees! Though career is a component, this is a first-year mentoring program with the goal of helping the students make a positive transition to Plymouth State. Some will know what they want to be when they grow up, many will change their major, some will be just overwhelmed trying to fit in and be successful that first year. What’s important is that they engage in the process and get involved in the culture of campus. It’s about supporting their exploration, encouraging them to try new things, reminding them that it will be hard at times, and resilience is the goal, not perfection.
- What does a positive Mentor/Mentee relationship look like? The relationship should be respectful – and we hope, fun!. It should be focused on the student and helping them get where they want to go. Mentors should pose questions, encourage exploration, and be encouraging. Students will make mistakes, as we all did as first-year students. They will also have great successes – help them see both as part of the journey. If you have real concerns, share them in an open and caring, and encourage them to seek help. We’ll provide a list of resources available, from counseling, to health services, and academic advising. Mentors are not expected to solve a student’s problems or have the answers.
- How frequently do mentors/mentees meet or talk? We recommend at least once a month, on average. You and your mentee may decide that more often for shorter duration works well for you. We’ll send regular check-in prompts to see how things are going. When mentors and mentees utilize the communication platforms in PSUnite (messaging, video chats, etc) , we’ll be able to monitor if communication has not happened for a while, so we can check in to see how we can help.
- How long does the Mentor/Mentee relationship last? Likely from around May prior to the fall term all the way through their first year, possible into the summer before their sophomore year. We’re developing a timeline of check-ins coinciding with milestones throughout the first year of college. We don’t want to duplicate efforts, as students will also have a first-year advisor, perhaps a coach, a work supervisor, and a Residence Advisor (RA) they’ll be checking in with, so we’re coordinating to make sure all of this supports – and does not overwhelm – our students.
- Do mentors/mentees ever meet in person, or only online? We do see an opportunity for in-person connections, likely during Homecoming & Family Celebration or a similar campus-wide event. However, we also know that we have some great mentors across the US and the globe, and online may be the only option for them.
- What happens if you don’t “click” with your mentor/mentee? This certainly could happen, and if it’s an unhealthy fit, then we are poised to help with re-direction. We encourage mentors and mentees to keep an open mind. A mentor need evolved into a close friendship – though some certainly will. Sometimes, a mentor is the right person, at the right time. And that’s OK, too!
- Is there a supervisor to talk to? Yes, we have staff in Alumni Relations and Career Development who can help, and with 1,200 first year students, we’re also trying to create a program that has plenty of resources to help through most of the common situations so no one has to wait for a response from the office. We also see a discussion group building where the community can share their ideas and help each other through the process, knowing that we have staff here to support the process the entire step of the way.
- Will there be an opportunity to provide feedback on the PSUnite program? Absolutely! We will be requesting feedback at key points throughout the journey. We strongly believe that this can become a hallmark of the PSU experience, and we won’t get there without mentors helping us make it the best it can be.
- Will the University iterate or improve on it? Yes! We expect to make improvements along the way, in addition to changes for year two.
- Will we see a report on how it went, stories from other mentors and mentees? Yes, absolutely. We hope we’ll hear from our mentors and mentees throughout the year so we can share stories for inspiration. We plan to develop a discussion section on the site, too, so great ideas can be shared.
- Will I be working with a student from my same degree background? Very possibly, as it is one of the key matching criteria. First-year students often change majors – sometimes more than once! This first-year mentoring program is about supporting student success academically, co-curricularly, and socially, so even if the student changes her major, the connection can still be a great one. This is especially likely if the mentor is committed to supporting the student through that process.
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