What to Look for in a High School Mentoring Program

A high school mentoring program helps develop critical social skills, encourages academic achievement and provides positive, life-enriching experiences for students. Reality Changers provides mentorship programs for high school students and helps youth from underserved communities become college graduates.

Everybody needs mentoring at some point in their life, and everybody will be a mentor at some point in their life, even when they get into the real world. So why would it be any different at high school? 

Whether you live in San Diego or elsewhere in the United States, it’s important to know what to look for in high school mentoring programs. This blog will examine different characteristics to consider in a college mentoring program for high school students, including potential pitfalls, benchmarks for success, and more. High school can be difficult for students that don’t feel that sense of belonging. Here, we speak on how mentoring programs can help students reconnect to their communities.

Why Do High School Students Need Mentors?

A high school mentoring program can have a lasting impact on young lives. Positive benefits associated with such programs include lower dropout rates, increased graduation rates, improved self-esteem, and an increased chance at collegiate and professional success. Mentees often go on to do big things, thanks in no small part to the connections they made with their high school mentor.

Mentorship allows students to gain practical advice that can be applied throughout their personal and professional lives. Mentees enter the workforce or the collegiate setting with a leg up on their peers, simply from engaging with student mentoring programs in high school. After all, mentorship forges strong bonds at an especially pivotal time in a young person’s life. With so much uncertainty on the horizon, the stable presence of a mentor can make all the difference. 

One-on-one attention can also be helpful for mentees. In the classroom, students may feel lost in the crowd. Personal relationships with mentors can help reinforce ideas and lessons taught in school on a more practical level. Students benefit from more focused learning opportunities, and gain a stronger grasp on the content. 

Mentorship programs for high school students also provide young people with a better understanding of real-world expectations. These opportunities teach students how to engage professionally and politely with people of all backgrounds and experiences. While this often comes naturally over time, a high school mentor can really shed light on how interpersonal relationships work in the real world. This is no small benefit – understanding how to connect with others in a way that’s personable and considerate is a skill that will come in handy for decades to come. 

Where to Find a High School Mentor

Finding a potential mentor might seem like a tall order, but there are a number of high school mentoring programs designed to match students with professional mentors. Beyond a formal program, it helps to take a step back and think of the people in your life who you admire most. This might be a teacher, a coach, a religious leader, or family member. Anyone who knows you and is concerned about your wellbeing and growth can be a mentor to you.

Once you’ve identified a person you’d like to be mentor, ask for an initial meeting. While it can be intimidating to reach out to someone you admire but might not know very well – especially if they’re older – there are ways to take some pressure off of yourself. Ease your fears by reminding yourself that the people you admire likely had their own mentors throughout their lives. Many would jump at the chance to help others in the same way. If you’re eager to connect, ask to chat after class or practice. 

During your initial request for mentorship, prioritze casual connection. Keep in mind that you’re still feeling out the situation, so don’t focus the entire discussion around yourself. Most people are thrilled to take a break from work to connect on a personal level. Have a list of one to three academic or college-related questions in mind, and let the discussion flow from there. You may want to ask things like:

  • Where did you go to college? Would you recommend the school? Why or why not?
  • What should I be doing now to help me make the important decisions like choosing a major?
  • How did college prepare you for your current career?
  • Can we set up a time to talk further?

Always follow up such meetings with a thank you note. This message can set the tone for future meetings with your new mentor. Even if you didn’t click on a personal level and don’t see yourselves meeting up again in the future, a thoughtful note can leave things on a positive note.

High School Mentoring Programs – Things to Consider Before Signing Up

Mentoring high school students for college has a positive impact beyond the obvious academic aspects. Just some of the positive benefits from high school mentoring programs include lower dropout rates, higher graduation rates, superior self-esteem, optimal attitude about school, increased chance at professional success and many more.

Before joining a mentorship program for high school students, it helps to:

  • Watch for waiting lists. Students can’t afford to put their futures on hold. If you’re interested in a high school mentoring program that has a long wait list, look for an alternative program. If you are in San Diego, consider Reality Changers. The organization has more than 21 years of experience with high school mentorship. 
  • Research results. If an organization touts their mentorship programs for high school students, do some research and verify the results. Reality Changers provides accurate information about our accomplishments. See our most recent Annual Report for more information.
  • Take the decision seriously. For many students, finding the right college mentoring program is literally the difference between an uncertain future and uncapped success. Regardless of your background, your mentoring initiative should meet and exceed your current requirements, in order to ensure a bright future. Do your homework before choosing an organization that mentors high school students – it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make!

Mentoring Programs for High School Students – One Path to Eventual Success

Mentoring high school students for college has been shown to have a positive impact on preparing today’s youth for academic (college) and professional (career) success. 

But we’re changing the conventional reality at Reality Changers. For us, mentoring high school students is part of our culture. Our college mentoring programs for high school students prepare San Diego-area youth for a future they never thought possible. We believe in the boundless potential of every child in our city – that same core belief should be part of whatever high school mentoring programs you’re considering to sign up for.

Our unique mentorship programs for high school students sets up a framework and incentives for academic achievement. You can support these essential programs for underserved youth. Make a donation today.


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