Choosing a Mentor
1. Identify your goals
First, it is important to identify and write out your short and long term goals. Are you applying to colleges or graduate school? Taking the GRE? Applying to a specific scholarship or fellowship? Wanting to explore different career paths? Having goals in mind creates an excellent foundation for you and your mentor to work from.
2. What are your mentorship needs?
What is important to you in a mentor and what type of mentor are you looking for? Do you need guidance in a specific area or value certain skills that will help you with your goals? Or are you looking for a mentor that shares similar challenges and values? It is important to ask yourself what you are looking for in a mentor and what sort of background or skill-set they would ideally have. There are many different types of mentors and mentors may serve one or several roles for you. It may be unlikely that one mentor can help you with every aspect you are looking for, so take some time to identify what is the most important to you and what your primary needs are.
3.Assess your strengths and areas you'd like to improve.
Mentors can best help you in your academic trajectory if they know where you're already thriving and where you'd like to improve. Write down or think of a few areas you are feeling confident (e.g. Do you have a lot of passion for your field? Are you a strong writer? Do you have a lot of research experience? Any great skill-sets?) Afterwards, think of some areas you feel less certain, need guidance or would like to improve. (E.g. Do you have trouble establishing a timeline to get projects done? Do you feel uncertain about how to ask for letters of recommendation or need advice about being an effective communicator? Jot down anything you can think of!)