Faculty & Alumni Mentors
A mentor is a trusted, experienced individual who offers wisdom, advice, guidance, and support to another. Studies show that when students have mentors they often report greater success and satisfaction with their college experience. Most mentor relationships are informal, meaning that they develop naturally through interaction in the classroom, during a volunteer experience, on the athletic field, in a residence hall, or on the job.
Faculty are an excellent resource of knowledge and experience, offering advice when students are making a range of decisions, from selecting courses, choosing a major, to making post-graduate plans. If you’re considering post-graduate study, these connections are essential. Faculty mentors can often provide you with information about graduate programs and the application process. Graduate admissions committees will expect to read letters of recommendation from faculty members who know your work well and can assess your potential as a contributor to the field. Although it’s not possible to know every instructor well, you may find it possible (and essential) to forge relationships with at least some of your teachers.
First- and second-year students who are in large classes or in departments where finding a faculty mentor is more difficult can begin by getting to know their teaching assistants. Although graduate students can make good mentors and can write letters for some purposes, it’s important to get to know faculty as well.
Alumni serve as mentors to students in the College by offering networking opportunities and career advice. College students may meet alumni at the CPO sponsored one-day conference “Taking the Next Step” in January or at events organized by the Alumni Association and Career Advancement. Students are also encouraged to explore the Alumni Directory, hosted by the Alumni and Friends online community.