Good Mentoring is Key to Grad Student Success

Introducing the new GSAB Mentoring Program!

A&S Graduate Students can apply to be mentored by a member of the Graduate Studies Advisory Board. See below for application instructions.

In Spring 2018, the Arts & Sciences Graduate Center will pilot a mentoring program in partnership with the GSAB. Volunteers from the GSAB will serve as mentors to individual graduate students. We will pair students with GSAB members in a related field of study. Eventually we will expand this program to include other W&M graduate alumni as mentors, in addition to the GSAB.

The goal of this program is to foster one-on-one mentorships intended to help students build professional skills during Spring 2018. Graduate students are most successful when they receive mentoring from multiple sources. We hope your GSAB mentor will supplement the mentoring you routinely receive from your faculty advisor.

If I want to apply to be paired with a GSAB mentor, what should I expect?

As a pilot program, we will pair a student and GSAB member for a single academic semester. If you wish to keep in touch beyond that, you are welcome to, but it is not expected. At a minimum, we ask mentors to be in contact with you at least three times per semester, although more frequent interactions (by phone, email, or Skype) are welcome. We hope you will discuss with your mentor your individual career and skills development goals. Your mentor can provide advice, guidance, and, where possible, resources to help you reach your individual professional goals. This might include mentoring in the following areas: building a professional presence online and promoting one’s research; the preparation of job application materials and job interview skills (e.g., mock interviews); networking, including providing networking opportunities or connections in your field; or offering guidance on particular job or field-related skills. It is up to you and your mentor to agree on how much time to spend working together. The Graduate Center will facilitate pairing students with mentors, will make the initial introductions, and then will let you take it from there. The Grad Center is always available to assist, answer questions, or address concerns.

What is NOT expected of the mentor?
It is important that you have reasonable expectations about what to expect from your mentor. Mentors are NOT expected to:
  • Help you get a job.
  • Read substantial portions of your academic writing or help you with research.
  • Give you an unreasonable amount of their time.
  • Have all the answers. Each mentor brings individual strengths to the table; not every mentor will be able to address all of your questions or support you in all of your goals.
  • Do all the work. Like any relationship, this mentorship should be a give and take. If your mentor suggests you do something that will add to your professional skills and help you build your career, you should make a good effort to follow through.
Why should I participate in this program?
  • Gain broader perspectives on how to prepare for your career;
  • Receive guidance on job materials from experts with extensive experience in your field;
  • Expand your skill set;
  • Build your resume;
  • Make contacts in your field;
  • Get to know a really interesting person who cares deeply about W&M!
How do I sign up?

Please fill out this brief application online to help us pair you with a GSAB volunteer. Student applications are due Friday, January 19, 2018.

How will I be paired with a mentor?

Once you have filled out the application form and supplied information about areas in which you would like to receive mentoring, we will compare your responses to those of the GSAB mentoring volunteers. We will make every effort to pair you with the mentor who will best suit your needs.

N.B. – As this is a one-semester pilot project, we will be evaluating the effectiveness of the program. Your feedback will be invaluable. If successful, the Mentoring Program will continue as a year-long program in 2018-19. You will have the option to participate again if you so choose.