10 Traits Your Kid Must Look For in the Perfect Mentor-MainPhoto

10 Traits Your Kid Must Look For in the Perfect Mentor-MainPhoto

Having a mentor outside of the family can be an incredible asset for students young and old. For college students in particular, a great mentor offers hard-earned perspective and wisdom as well as an objective assessment of his mentee, when necessary. However, not just anyone can (or should!) be a mentor. Here are ten traits your high school of college student must look for when finding the perfect mentor.

  1. Commonality: A mentor is meant to support a college student to grow, learn, and excel in her field. When choosing a mentor, a student should look for someone who has gone through her same degree program (or one close to it) and works in the same industry the student dreams of pursuing.

Read Related: Mentoring Program Serves Young Latinas in NYC

  1. Moral compass: If your kid is an upstanding citizen, he or she will be turned-off by a misfit individual as a mentor. Finding a role model with similar values and sense of ethics will lay a solid foundation for their relationship.

  2. Time: Your child’s first choice of mentor may be too busy to take on a mentee, and that’s okay! Coach your child to ask a prospective mentor early on in their communication if he or she might have some time to help. If not, find somebody else!

  3. Desire to give back: It’s a common philosophy in business that one should give back as much as one has been given. Most high-ranking professionals practice this by coaching and providing mentorship opportunities, but there are some who don’t. If your college student’s dream mentor appears to be completely uninterested in giving back or paying it forward, the relationship will not benefit your kid.

  4. Connections: A mentor can only get you so far without connections within an industry. Part of being a mentee is having the opportunity to network and make connections within a chosen profession. If the prospective mentor is new to the area or the industry, there will be a glass ceiling for the student.

  5. Communication: Without adequate communication, a mentor is worthless! Your kid should be flexible in terms of communication preference, going with what works for the mentor, but if he or she is not consistently receiving some form of communication from the mentor, it’s not working.

  6. Safe: A mentor should provide a safe space for the mentee to make mistakes and learn without judgement or consequence. If your student feels ridiculed or bullied by a prospective mentor, he or she will not be able to grow and develop fully.

  7. Role model: A great mentor sets an example for the mentee to emulate. Success in their field combined with a solid work ethic and professional demeanor are all signs that your child will learn a great deal from this person.

  8. Credibility: Mentors should have achieved some level of success in an industry. Not all mentors are CEOs, in fact many CEOs make horrible mentors. But an entry-level mentor isn’t going to teach your child a whole lot he or she couldn’t learn independently.

  9. Good attitude: It may sound silly but, above all, your kid’s mentor should be a positive and nice person for your child. He or she may be cutthroat in the office and competitive to a fault at work, but your student should always feel respected and positive about their interactions.

As your kid ventures out into the real world, having a mentor on his or her side will be hugely beneficial. It’s worth some time and energy to find the person who will commit to helping your college student learn, grow, and thrive, laying the foundation for a great future in any field.

Editor’s Note: The following article is one in a series presented in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and designed to help parents prepare to send their kids off to college, brought to you by Colgate.