The Importance of Mentoring for Career Preparation

2 min to read
An educational mentor is helping a high school student with a science project

Real-world mentors step in at critical times in a student’s academic journey to share their experience and insights, prepare them for college or professional careers, and build their confidence and self-motivation. Mentors are trusted advisors who encourage students to take ownership of their learning and personal growth, set goals, create action plans, and use feedback to make adjustments.

What Is a Professional Mentor’s Value in Career Preparation?

MTD, a professional-development organization, describes the ideal mentor as an active participant in the student’s growth and skills development. A hallmark of an effective mentor is the ability to introduce students to professional networks that can cultivate and advance their career ambitions.

The MTD website lists the 15 crucial life skills that qualified mentors possess and pass on to students. Among them include:

  • Overcoming limits. Everybody struggles at one time or another in school, life, and throughout their careers. A good mentor understands from experience why those limiting beliefs crop up and how they can be used as learning opportunities. Modeling these lessons for students helps support academic growth and life-enriching skills such as confidence, resilience, and problem-solving.
  • Managing time. Professional mentors help students realize the vital importance of setting goals and meeting deadlines. In school and their potential careers, successful students set short- and long-term concrete goals and establish milestones for meeting the deadline.
  • Solving problems. Good mentors use conflicts that sometimes arise in the student-mentor relationship to help students master career-enriching skills, including complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Rather than simply telling them how to rise to a challenge, mentors rely on their experience to coach students to take charge of problems, work on them, and come up with solutions.
  • Sharing their expertise. A Mentor can serve as a “thought partner” who provides experience-based, objective academic and career-preparation guidance.
Online students working through a project with their mentor.

Where Can Online Students Find Mentors?

Technology enables students to connect with mentors in-person and online. Online learners, like those who attend Connections Academy-supported schools, therefore, can gain all the benefits of working with a professional mentor during the day by taking advantage of the flexibility of at-home learning to set their own school schedule. If your student is looking for a professional mentor, reach out to experts in a field that your student is interested in both locally and online to see if they would be interested in mentoring your student. Also, see if your student’s teachers, counselors, tutors, or coaches have connections to potential mentors. For example, some Connections Academy-supported schools are in the process of creating a network of higher education and industry professionals to serve as a resource and support for students interesting in finding mentors.

Students participating in internships or holding part-time jobs may find opportunities for mentoring in the workplace. A real-world career-prep relationship can help students shape their academics to develop expertise in potential career paths.

Wherever you look for a mentor, the right person can have a significant impact in helping your student develop the tools they need to succeed academically and in their careers.

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