As you likely know, colleges and universities have been leveraging the support and generosity of their alumni for decades. In recent years, K-12 schools and districts have become increasingly invested in developing and maintaining a pool of engaged alumni who support their efforts, as well.
Although many schools focus on using alumni to help with fundraising efforts, you can also leverage the experience and knowledge your alumni have to coordinate an impactful student-alumni mentorship program.
It takes time and effort to design and implement a program like this, but the potential benefits of student-alumni mentorship are well worth it.
How to design a mentorship program
The best mentorship programs are carefully designed to offer the best possible benefits for students and alumni. You should think about who you want to participate in the program, how you will facilitate mentorship for students and what your goals are to help you design an effective program. You can decide whether you want to match students and alumni in one-on-one mentorship sessions or assign an alumni to mentor students in groups.
Create a plan for how you will select alumni, how you will match students with mentors, how meetings will be conducted and what the timeline for mentorship will look like.
For a mentorship program to work, you need to generate interest from potential mentors and potential mentees alike. Identify alumni who would be good mentors and reach out to them via email or phone to tell them about your program and ask them to participate. You can encourage participation by highlighting mentors in your social media and email marketing campaign and offering incentives to mentors who volunteer their time.
It’s always important to screen mentors and provide them with some training and guidelines to help them make the most positive impact possible on the students they mentor.
Your alumni represent some of your biggest supporters as a district, and a well-planned mentorship program can help you leverage this resource to the fullest. With some planning and development, you can cultivate relationships between students and alumni that encourage academic growth and shape positive career paths.