We are in the midst of a tumultuous time. With the pandemic happening, questions about the value of college degrees and doubts on the work readiness of graduates become even more palpable. It brings into focus close mentorship and its impact on a student’s success.
Close Mentorship and Its Value for Students
According to the 2018 Strada-Gallup Alumni Study (formerly part of the Gallup-Purdue Index), “Mentoring College Students to Success,” a mentor who encourages individuals to achieve their goals and aspirations is the single most important factor that dictates success in both work and life for many college graduates.
Mentorship can be among the most transformative experiences for all the people involved—whether they be undergraduate or graduate students. They are effective in the sense that students get not only career support but also psychosocial collaboration. It helps mentees develop a network of support that would help them set expectations, develop trust and transparency, and regular review of the goal and its achievement.
Unfortunately, among the respondents in the Gallup study, only less than half received mentorship during their college days. Accordingly, the Higher Education Research reported that less than 50% of faculty believe that the institutions they are working for factor in mentoring as part of their promotion reviews, and only 7% of them reported increased engagement in mentorship training. This highlights the pressing need to make faculty mentoring a critical part of higher education.
Mentorship for International Students
If those studying in regular university setups are already facing shortcomings in mentorship, how much more difficult is it for international students?
International students are among those facing difficulties due to the sudden shift in the education system following the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Before the pandemic, foreign students would typically have access to peer mentoring or alumni mentoring programs in their respective academic institutions. While they have been useful in helping them cope living abroad, it does little to contribute to their future success.
But since most international students have to rely on online learning, access to valuable mentorship becomes even more challenging.
How can international students get access to close mentorship at these unprecedented times?
Communication will be a critical aspect of every mentorship. Online learning technologies can be leveraged to ensure that both parties can maintain proper communication even when they cannot do side-by-side mentoring. International students should also be encouraged to open up and share their difficulties with their mentors. This allows their faculty to offer solutions based on their experiences. Students should not be afraid to receive both negative and positive feedback from their mentors.
While most educators are willing to do mentorship as part of their teaching advocacy, they should be incentivize4 when they make an extra effort to reach out to students. Teachers are already swamped as they are, but most of them are willing to go the extra mile if they know that they can make a big difference in their student’s career goals and overall well-being.
One of the nation’s largest education programs at University of California – Riverside, the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) combines mentorship and ongoing professional growth through instructional accountability and performance-based compensation, providing impressive results with benefits exceeding the cost.
Once faculty members show their care and concern to their students, it would be enough for them to become motivated to reach their goals and dreams. They can even take it as a challenge to improve academically and professionally. Institutions should take this as a challenge to create a new pathway, not only for student success but also for their faculty.
MSM Unify is a one-stop platform helping students become successful in their study abroad journey. Explore our partners to see how you can access mentorship to ensure your success. Join MSM Unify now!