The Magic of a Mentor: Ensure a Successful Transition to College

As you look ahead to graduating from high school and transitioning to college life, you may be experiencing confidence and uncertainty, excitement and anxiety--sometimes all at once! A mentor can help you through this this exciting if a little stressful time.

As you look ahead to graduating from high school and transitioning to college life, you may feel a dizzying mixture of emotions. You may be experiencing confidence and uncertainty, excitement and anxiety--sometimes all at once!

One key to making the transition (as well as your entire college experience) less stressful and more successful is to seek a school that offers a dedicated mentoring program or, if not, to seek out mentors on your own. A mentor is defined as a wise, experienced person who gives you advice: a counselor, advisor or friend.

Having a mentor has long been acknowledged as a great advantage in a career--but increasingly the importance of mentoring in college is becoming clear. A mentor will enable you to chart your course at college, based on your interests and career goals, while having a knowledgeable person by your side to help you navigate.

Here are examples of how a mentor can assist you with some of the challenges you might experience during the transition into college.

Master time management techniques. You may find it difficult at first to manage your time without the structure of a high school schedule, plus parents nudging you along. A mentor can teach you time management methods that enable you to handle a busy schedule that incorporates classes, study, extracurricular activities, a part-time job, and your social life, which, of course, is always important!

Feel at home away from home. Being away from your family and hometown friends can make you feel disconnected. A mentor can help you establish yourself at college by identifying ways you can become involved in clubs, sports, and other activities. This will enable you to become engaged in student life and get the most out of your college years, while also building valuable experience and contacts for your future.

Select the classes and degree program that leads you toward success. The freedom of choice in college is stimulating, yet it can also be confusing. Mentors can identify your interests and strengths, and how they can be integrated into a degree program that will give you the best opportunities for academic and career success. They can help you find a path and stay on it--or go off in a new direction if that’s the best course.

Finding a dedicated mentor in college on your own is not quite as easy as connecting with an organized mentoring program through your school. At Mercy College we offer the PACT (Personalized Achievement ContracT) mentoring program, which begins upon enrollment and continues throughout the four years. Each student participating in PACT is assigned an experienced, skilled mentor who can help them navigate every aspect of the college experience, from financial aid and choosing the right major and classes to developing leadership skills, utilizing e-portfolios, and landing internships.

When you’re considering college mentoring programs, look for a high degree of interaction. While it’s great to stay in touch with your mentor by texting, e-mailing, or speaking on the phone, having face-to-face meetings on a regular basis is also crucial. With a strong mentoring relationship, you will have someone who understands your unique story and stands ready to help you achieve all you can in college and beyond.

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