How to Connect Students with Mentors
Author: Kristina Proffitt
19th April 2018
Mentorship is a huge part of education.
It goes further than teachers mentoring their students, though.
Peer-to-peer mentorship schemes can provide students with extra support from people who’ve been in their situation.
This can help to boost their confidence, improve their grades, and even help with their career prospects.
After all, many great job opportunities come from networking.
But how do you connect students with mentors?
Networking events remain one of the best ways for people to meet their mentors. However, these environments can be intimidating, particularly if you’re new to them. It can also be difficult for students and mentors to find time to attend these meetings, and if there’s a disproportionate number of mentors and mentees, it makes it even harder for people to connect.
The internet makes networking easier than ever. It’s perfect for those who don’t like crowds or the daunting task of approaching strangers and asking them for help.
Social media, websites, and email mean that our six-degrees of separation is smaller than ever. All it takes is a well-written email and you could get help from some of the most powerful people in the world.
However, these are busy people and they don’t always have time to respond to everyone. Even if they do, finding a time to meet with them face-to-face could be harder than getting their contact details in the first place.
It takes an average of three emails to schedule a meeting, which, for a busy entrepreneur or other businessperson, is time they can’t afford to waste.
So what’s the alternative?
PeopleGrove does a great job of this with their searchable online database of mentors.
They also offer students the ability to book meetings with their mentors online. This cuts out the need for cumbersome, old-fashioned email chains or time wasted on the phone while everyone cross-references their schedules.
Sites that are calendar-synced – like PeopleGrove – make it even easier for students and mentors to meet. Not only do they offer online booking, but the online booking facility is linked to the mentor’s calendar, meaning that the options presented to mentees when they book an appointment are based on the mentor’s real-time availability. This cuts out all of the needless hassle and ensures that the mentee picks a time when the mentor is available.
The mentor also has full control over when they are available. They can block appointments from being booked on certain days, or only take appointments on certain days.
Once the mentee has chosen a slot, it’s automatically pushed to the mentor’s calendar. This prevents any double-bookings and ensures that they don’t miss out on the appointment.
To make things even easier for the mentee, appointments can be added to their schedules, too.
Once they’ve synced their calendars to the software, they don’t even need to check their calendar to check their availability – the software can automatically suggest a mutually convenience time.
Alternatively, a Smart Invite can be generated. This looks like an ICS file but allows the mentor to track if the mentee has accepted, declined, or deleted the booking. This helps them to not waste time showing up to an appointment someone isn’t going to attend.
Should something come up and one of them is no longer able to attend, the software can suggest alternative times just as quickly and easily as it did the first time around. Because it all updates in real-time, it will still factor in any changes to their schedules since the cancelled meeting was organized.
Connecting students to mentors helps with their overall development just as much as studying for their degree.
While higher education shows them their options and gives them the tools that they need, a mentor can help them to figure out what the best way to use those tools is. This helps them to make more informed decisions and leads to them being more confident in their skills and abilities.
Long-term, students are happier, more effective in their roles, and more likely to want to share their learnings with someone who was just like them a few years ago.
Date: 19th April 2018 | Category: Edtech