The life of a student in today’s academically competitive environment is not an easy one.
High school students feel pressure to secure a bright future by getting into the best colleges and universities, and with that comes the expectation to take part in extracurricular activities, community volunteering, and more.
And, of course, in order to reach their goals, most students need to earn high grades in school, ace standardized tests, and somehow maintain their personal lives and relationships.
Moreover, the requirements only increase when students enter college or university, and the transition from living at home to taking on all the pressures of school and future on their own can be daunting.
Fortunately, students do have resources to help them through these sometimes difficult transitions and challenges, and a crucial resource students will benefit from now, and well into the future, is access to faculty mentoring.
What Faculty Mentoring Entails
Faculty mentoring for both high school and college students undoubtedly has a major impact on those students’ success, both now and in the future.
However, the type of faculty mentoring that is most beneficial for students seems to be different than some might expect.
According to the 2018 Strada-Gallup Alumni Survey, for example, college students were found to gain significant benefits from faculty mentors who took an interest in students’ dreams and goals but did not benefit in the same way from just participating in a research project with a college professor. These results are likely due to the nature of many research projects, which entail data entry or lab work without as much professor-to-student interaction.
This suggests that faculty members in both high school and higher education environments should consider the impact they can have on students by understanding their personal goals and dreams--and by challenging them to work hard toward those goals.
Though an understanding and supportive mentor is crucial for student success, just as key are the faculty members who push students to achieve more and by utilizing their potential.
This kind of faculty mentorship requires a level of attention to detail and a relationship with students that goes beyond a nameless lecture environment. As the Strada-Gallup Alumni Survey shows, faculty members have the power to change students’ lives now and for decades to come.
Immediate Benefits of Faculty Mentoring
Right away, faculty members who choose to mentor students make an impact by supporting students, challenging them to reach new goals, and ultimately guiding them toward their potential.
Students in high school scholarship societies like the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) have access to educator support, along with scholarship opportunities, tips and advice for success, and networking with other students and educators.
Meanwhile, NSHSS Educators are dedicated to their students’ futures and are able to apply for educator grants to help fund teaching initiatives that elevate education for their students.
Educators who go above and beyond to show they care can help high school students specifically prepare for college and the future with advice about what kind of major to pursue, how to make the most of the college experience, and how to create a competitive college application.
Professors and other faculty members who act as mentors can also play a major role in college students’ ability to adjust to the college environment, take advantage of programs within their college or university, navigate difficult new challenges that come with higher education, and challenge themselves to grow throughout the college experience.
Future Benefits of Faculty Mentoring
These benefits of faculty mentorship, though, extend far beyond the present moment for students. In fact, faculty mentors can completely change the course of students’ lives by simply making those students feel seen, heard, understood, and supported.
As the 2018 Strada-Gallup Alumni Survey shows, students cite their faculty mentors as reasons for their success even decades later, noting how important it was for them to have a professor or other faculty member to look to for guidance and encouragement.
Faculty mentors’ words of advice can ring in the ears of students long into their future, giving them the motivation to push through challenging moments and the confidence that their dreams are worth the effort.
A faculty member’s words of encouragement or tough love during high school or college could inspire a student to try a new class or major, even start a business or start volunteering for a new organization.
Though educators should be aware of the impact they have on their students’ lives, they might be amazed to know just how special they really are. The mentorship of a faculty member could be just the gentle push a student needs to reach a milestone or push a little further to reach success.
With the impact of faculty mentors in mind, every faculty member deserves a major thank you for all you do to inspire, support, and encourage students around the world to reach their potential. The difference you make is incomparable!