Mentoring At All Ages

Students of all ages can benefit from someone who is a little older, has more experience, and has been in their shoes before. Last Friday, I had the opportunity to participate in two events. The morning event was mock interviews with high school students in a business class. In the evening, I attended a networking event that focused on launching the Walsh College mentorship program.

Walsh's Mock Interviews with High School Students

Over the last several years, Walsh has coordinated a mock interview event with a business class at Clintondale High School. The purpose of the mock interviews was to give Clintondale business class students an opportunity to experience an interview. The key is that they had a chance to experience this before going on an actual job interview for the real world.

The teacher prepared three different handouts with frequently used questions. Students were required to participate in three rounds of interviews, all with different questions.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What qualities do you think are important for a leader?
  • List two strengths and weaknesses.
  • Describe a time when you were face with a disagreement with a boss/teacher. How did you handle the situation?

Questions from the Students

Once I got through the list of the questions, I would ask each student if they had any questions for me. Many of them inquired about what to expect in college and challenges you can face. I even had a student stump me with one of her questions!

The experience gave students a chance to think about how they would really answer those questions in real-life. Most of these students were between 16-18 years of age. It is interesting how you can pin-point personalities so quickly during a short meeting... shy, outgoing, and those who are more serious.

I found many of them were comfortable talking about their life's experiences. Some have had to overcome tough situations and are making strides to be a success story. There was one student in particular who really impressed me. Her ability to craft responses, level of maturity, and poise were well beyond her years.


Walsh's First Mentorship Program

Earlier this year I signed up to be a mentor in Walsh's first ever mentorship program. The College organized a 7-week mentorship program designed to match alumni mentors with student mentees. The purpose is to build connections and open up a dialogue about past learning experiences.

Kickoff Event

On Friday evening, Walsh hosted the kickoff with 30 mentor/mentee matches. It started with a formal presentation with an HR executive from Lear Corporation, who explained its formal mentorship program. Specifically, the level of expectations, who initiates the meetings, topics to cover, etc. There were a few handouts that Walsh provided as helpful tips for mentors/mentees to keep the conversation going during the program. After the presentations were completed, we were invited to use the remainder of the time chatting with our mentees and making a plan for future meetings for the remainder of the program. The program will wrap up on Friday, June 2, with a dinner.

I actually had the opportunity to line up with my first meeting with my mentee a week before the kick off. It gave us a chance to get to know each other personally beforehand. Our plan is to focus on setting specific topics for each meeting and to meet every other week during lunch.

If you weren't able to participate in the pilot program, connect with Jill Peplinski. She will likely have details as to the next session and how you can participate.


Have you participated in a mentoring program before? What did you learn from your experience?

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