In recent years, mentoring has emerged as a strong response to the plight of youth at-risk. On college and university campuses, mentoring programs have expanded rapidly with increasing numbers of college students working one-to-one with young people in schools, community agencies, and other settings.
The college student mentor is both a friend and a role model who supports and encourages a younger partner in his/her academic and personal growth. The mentor is also a guide who helps a young person make the difficult change from childhood to adolescence, from elementary to middle school to high school. This time of transition is especially important, for it is a time when young people are making decisions about how much — or how little—they can expect to achieve.
Mentors and young people develop their relationships as they participate together in social, cultural, and recreational activities, community service projects, tutoring, or any of the many different activities that friends enjoy. Whatever the activity, mentoring provides guidance and support to vulnerable adolescents and establishes service as an integral part of student life and the college experience.
Campus-based programs offer unique opportunities in mentoring with far-reaching benefits:
- College campuses have a rich variety of academic, cultural, and recreational resources to expand a child’s horizons.
- College students make excellent mentors because they are close enough in age to young people to establish strong relationships, yet mature enough to offer guidance.
- Campus-based mentoring supports good citizenship. When mentoring programs combine work in the community with training and reflection, mentoring becomes a “real life” learning experience and a first step in a life-long commitment to service
WHO BENEFITS FROM MENTORING PROGRAMS?
College Student Mentor:
- Gain personal satisfaction
- Develop patience, insight, and understanding
- Learn lessons in citizenship through work with the community
- May experience a cultural, social, or economic background different from their own
- Improve leadership and communication skills
Gain experience for future careers in public service, social work, teaching, and more
- Receive academic help
- Learn study skills
- Improve social skills
- Have the attention of another caring adult
- Discover new options and opportunities
- Set goals for the future
Colleges and Universities:
- Form stronger ties with their communities
- Build better citizens through responsibility and service
- Support cross-cultural learning
- Retain students by providing meaningful involvement
- Report improvements in student-teacher relations
- See progress in school performance and in academic and social skills
- Forge stronger ties with colleges, community groups, and parents
- Receive additional student support services
- Involve other caring adults in the education process
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