How to be a GREAT eMentor!

The eMentors program wouldn’t be a success without the wonderful volunteers who spend time each week to help answer student questions and provide advice. Taking the time to devote some much needed attention to a student can be so impactful. We want to provide mentors a few tips to help make the experience the best possible.

Email tips:

  • Take time to understand the student’s questions. If you are unclear about what they writing or need more help, refer to the Guiding Questions sent in the kick-off email. Those prompts are what the students use to write their emails and should give you a good idea about what the teacher is hoping the students will learn.
  • Challenge your student! Ask the student even more questions about the weekly topic. Ask them about their ideas and how they came up with them. Ask them to consider a new idea (e.g. a new career field or approach to time management). Send them links to articles or videos that hit on the subject.
  • Make time to respond to your student’s email. Replying to messages promptly sets a great example of respectful, professional behavior. Students like to know that their messages are being read and enjoy reading your messages back. Taking time to respond back shows the student that you care and that you value them. Communicate with your student and coordinator if you know you’ll have limited email access for a period of time.
  • Model great email etiquette. Students are still learning professional communication and email skills. They aren’t use to using email yet on a regular basis for communication. Some students’ emails will contain errors or appear informal. Take time to respond to your email in a professional way and show students what a good email looks like. As the program progresses, you should see a positive change in the emails.

Meet and Greet tips:

  • Give a handshake and ask lots of questions. The students are always nervous before the Meet and Greet and get a bit intimidated by the thought of meeting their mentor in person. Do your best to arrive on time and take full-advantage of the short time. Take a moment to welcome them with a friendly handshake and start the meeting off with questions for the student to help get things started.
  • Think about the office tour. A highlight of the eMentors program is an office tour. If you have the opportunity to lead a tour (either one-on-one or in a group), take some time to think about what to show the students. For a high school student, it can be the little things that make an impact. What does a desk space look like, what is available at the cafeteria, why do people wear name badges, etc? Most students have never been to ‘cube-land’ so it’s all an experience. What might seem normal for you is definitely not the norm for a student in high school.
  • Block off your calendar early! The Meet and Greet is truly a highlight of the program. Make it a priority to attend and mark your calendar. If you are unable to attend the Meet and Greet, please let your student know as soon as you are able. Communicate with your company coordinator about what steps you should take to ensure your student is taken care of during the Meet and Greet.