Mentoring Tips (Academic) – Freshman Year

The key this year is to establish a positive relationship with your student and get to know one another.  Show that you are a trusted, reliable person and who provides support, encouragement and advice. Share your own school, professional and personal experiences, achievements and challenges, and encourage your mentee to share his/her goals, aspirations, concerns, etc.

Topics for discussion

Early on, establish explicit expectations about communicating

  • Confirm one another’s contact information
  • What is the best way to communicate? E-mail, text, phone calls, in-person get-togethers, etc.
  • How frequently will you communicate? g, text or email weekly, get together monthly, etc.
  • Commit that you will always respond to one another’s communications promptly
  • Share one another’s skills and interests of which you are proud and those that you would like to improve or develop.
  • Help set measurable, realistic goals for oneself
  • When report cards are sent out
    • Praise any strong performance—grades, attendance, etc.
    • Encourage seeking extra help where grades are weak
  • Holidays—reach out to your student on holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Veteran’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day, birthday to wish them and their family a happy one.

Getting together:

  • September—S/PA staff will arrange the first meeting between you and your mentee, usually early in the fall at the student’s school. During the first meeting you can introduce yourself and tell the student you are looking forward to getting to know one another throughout the four years of high school.
  • S/PA activities – Please communicate with your student in advance so that you know whether to see one another at the events (except the first one).
  • “Get to know you” breakfast or lunch is held early in the fall. You will have a chance to sit and talk with your student.  This is usually the first time mentors and students meet.
  • Community service and enrichment events – we usually have one in fall and one in the spring. All S/PA students are expected to attend and it is a great opportunity to spend time doing something fulfilling together.  Past activities have included the FoodBank of New Jersey, All Stars Project of New Jersey and the Greater Newark Conservancy
  • January – All students, mentors, and families are welcome to attend the S/PA Winter Holiday party.
  • Extracurricular activities—If your student welcomes you, attend sport events, plays, and other special events

Suggested Activities

  • In a journal or notebook, record 3 things you like about yourself and 3 things you would like to change/improve. State how you are going to attempt to change or improve at least one of those characteristics.
  • In a journal or notebook, each record 3 academic and 3 personal goals for the year. Make sure to date your entry. Revisit these goals in the spring.
  • Multiple Intelligence Test (Appendix)
  • Write a “plan of action” when academic support is needed.
  • Brainstorm a summer plan.