What is mentorship?
According to mentorship programs, a mentorship is a formal relationship between two individuals in which one has more life experience and acts as a guide and advisor to their junior. The experienced individual in the sharing position is known as a mentor, whereas the junior is known as the mentee. A successful mentorship relationship offers various benefits for both the mentee and the mentor.
By forming a potential mentoring relationship with a mentor, mentees can learn the ins and outs of an industry they are interested in, gain life insights and valuable advice (on topics like career development, career path, professional network, professional growth) , and potentially find resources and support for more opportunities with the new knowledge and connections they have gained.
For successful mentors, the long-term benefits include becoming better leaders, helping others to discover their potential, gaining new perspectives and fresh ideas, and shaping future leaders.
Mentorship can come in many forms: from professional mentoring and college or academic mentoring to informal mentoring depending on your personal needs – specifically focused on areas in your life where you want support or improvement.
Mentors are mainly there to offer students emotional and social support; they are available for students when they have questions about class, skills and knowledge, worry about their future careers, or have concerns about issues in their personal life. Mentorship can start as early as high school because the earlier you receive guidance, the more chances you will have to discover your passion and have a clearer idea of your academic and professional goals.
Benefits of Having a Mentor in High School
Having a mentor in high school can be an invaluable asset for any student. A mentor can provide personal and professional guidance, using their wisdom and experience to give advice, support, and further resources to teenagers as they navigate the challenges of their high school life. Some benefits of having a mentor are:
- Develop career goals and explore available possibilities: A mentor can provide students with opportunities to develop their career goals and explore the range of job opportunities that are available to them. Through conversation and advice, a mentor may help teenagers identify their passions, skills, and interests to pursue careers that best suit them.
- Receive emotional support to manage stress and build confidence: Having a mentor in high school is invaluable for providing emotional support during the teenage years. Whether it’s dealing with academic pressures or family problems, mentors can offer guidance, reassurance, and different perspectives for adolescents struggling with stress or uncertainty. Mentors can also help young people build confidence in their own abilities through positive reinforcement.
- Gain insight into life skills, college planning, and setting goals: With an experienced professional providing advice and support, students can gain valuable insight into essential life skills such as managing finances,
building professional relationships, and developing good habits. Furthermore, mentors will be able to offer sound advice on college preparation and the importance of setting ambitious but realistic goals.
High School Mentorship Programs
1. State-wise mentoring programs
A good starting point for students is to search for mentorship programs provided by their state. All state-wise mentorship programs are free to participate in, and are divided into counties/cities, for example:
Students interested in finding mentorship within their state can either research online or reach out to teachers for suggestions and/or nomination to such programs.
2. Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters was founded in 1904 to nurture students and help them realize their potential for future success. Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through young adulthood, across the country. Big Brothers Big Sisters offer youth mentoring for students aged 6 to 18. Youth mentoring aims to help students achieve goals, avoid risky behaviors, and improve self-confidence.
3. ACE Mentor Program of America (ACE)
The ACE Program is a free, after-school program for high school students interested in architecture, construction, and the engineering industry, including skilled trades. Comprising seventy chapters in thirty-seven states, the program enrolls more than 10,000 students annually and connects participants with over 4,100 volunteer mentors from around 1,100 high schools.
U.S. and Canadian high school students are invited to participate in the FFAC National High School Mentorship Program. This program is dedicated to creating a community between high school students and college mentors. High school mentees pair with college-level mentors who work through training with them. After being paired with mentors who are enrolled in the Coalition’s National College Internship Program, they support mentees in developing goal-setting and advocacy skills.
To apply for the program, there are no specific GPA requirements; however, students must submit a resume and a project sample—something they have created that shows their skills and values, such as an academic essay, personal essay, video, etc.
Friend for Youth is a nationally recognized, award-winning direct-service agency with over four decades of measurable success matching youth with caring, adult mentors. Friends for Youth offers both group and one-on-one mentoring opportunities, during which the pair takes part in workshops, activities, and fun adventures and field trips to local colleges, companies, and other events around the Bay Area. The program is for youth aged 8-17 living in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
SkillsUSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the skilled workforce of the U.S. It has served more than 372,655 students and role-modeling instructors in all 53 states and territories. SkillsUSA offers Student2Student mentoring, which pairs a middle school student with a high school or college mentor, and also facilitates the Jump into STEM! program, geared towards encouraging elementary aged students to start engaging with STEM subjects early. For high school students, this is an opportunity to act as a mentor to a younger student rather than be a mentee themselves. This is a great opportunity for them to develop leadership skills and add to their community service on their college applications.
Enroot is a nonprofit organization aiming to empower young immigrants to achieve academic, career, and personal success. Enroot has a mentorship program, where students are matched with great mentors to help them with academic improvement, college applications, career exploration and career advancement. All mentees in the Enroot Program are high school students in Cambridge and Somerville.
These are just a few potential high school mentoring programs students can participate in. Students can also consider reaching out to working professionals individually to inquire about mentee relationship opportunities if they cannot or do not wish to participate in the programs discussed above. With these examples of mentoring programs, we hope to inspire the students of the next generation to utilize these resources to be successful academically, personally, and professionally. If students are looking to improve their academic performance and college application, please get in touch with Aralia for more information about classes you can register for!