The academic mentor performs a pivotal role in the Ascending Lights Program. Often, disadvantaged students are unfamiliar with the study habits and time management skills necessary for college success. The mentor’s role is to closely monitor the student’s progress in each class. During these weekly sessions the mentor endeavors to uncover and respond to any difficulty that might be an obstacle to the student’s academic success. This process of monitoring and problem solving has consistently resulted in above average achievement on the part of our students. Being a mentor is a rewarding experience that will give you the chance to make a big difference in the life of a student on fire for the Lord.
Tasks of an Academic Mentor
Part One: Typical Weekly Session with the Student
You will be given a Student Progress Report sheet that will list the student’s classes. The sheet will have a designated place to write in assignments given for that week, tests given, and grades received in the class. You will write down all information on this report and be prepared to discuss it with the Executive Director. (See example)
Along with completing this report sheet you should build a relationship with the student by asking questions that would bring about dialogue between the two of you. Inquire about their weekend activities, their family life, their church life, and their social life.
The dialogue you have with the student should be a time for listening as well as a time to pin point problems that might create difficulties in their academics. These findings should be reported to the Executive Director.
Part Two: Where Should We Meet?
You should meet at a designated place on a weekly basis at the same time. You should always arrive 10 minutes prior to the student to prepare yourself for the meeting. Look over the student’s syllabus and see what is due that week.
You and the student will decide on the time and place that is convenient to both of your schedules.
Never cancel a meeting unless it is necessary. If it is an emergency contact Agency management and they will arrange for someone from our staff to meet with the student.
Part Three: What Does an Effective Academic Mentor Do?
You are always encouraging the student to do their very best.
You accept nothing less than what the student is capable of achieving.
You as a mentor always display the love of Jesus Christ.
If a student is doing poorly in a class it can be dropped by a certain date and receive a withdraw (W). This will not effect their Grade Point Average. If the student does not drop by the date they will receive a fail, which will affect their Grade Point Average. You as a mentor should be aware of this date. Students should always drop a class if it appears certain that they are going to receive a grade of a D or an F.
You as a mentor are always a step ahead of the student. If you see them struggling in a certain area have resources available to offer to the student. These resources can be obtained from Agency management.
As a mentor you should be yourself and let the student see you as you are. Tell them about who you are as a person and what you struggle with and how you are handling the situation. This is part of building a relationship.
Part Four: Troubleshooting
When You Uncover a Poor Grade: Ask the student why they received that grade? Ask the student what they can do to achieve a better grade on the next test? Ask if they need some extra help?
The Student Did Not Show Up: If the student doesn’t show up for a session contact the student within 24 hours to find out why as well as to reschedule a session within that same week. Report the situation to the Executive Director.
Part Five: Training
Agency management will thoroughly train all academic mentors.
Mentors will receive on-going support from bi-weekly supervision by Agency management.