Student Guidelines: Connecting with a Mentor
Designed for Sheridan students who are looking to grow their professional network, Sheridan Connect links students and young alumni with accomplished professionals for mentorship purposes. All Sheridan students and alumni are invited to join this program. Students, please be advised that this is not a job placement or job referral program.
Benefits of having a mentor
- Gain increased knowledge about a profession, organization or field of interest to you.
- Get advice from more experienced or established working professionals.
- Learn about diverse career options and possibilities.
- Get support with expanding your professional network.
- Be inspired to take action.
- Strengthen your communication and interpersonal skills.
Key expectations of mentors
- To share their knowledge about a particular profession, or organization or field with you.
- To be committed to fostering your professional growth and development as a mentee.
- To share insight about how to transition effectively from academic to professional life, how to find career fulfillment, how to stay marketable and resilient, or how to manage work/life decisions .
- To provide advice and encouragement that may help you kickstart your job search, explore your career options, identify relevant marketable skills, expand your professional network, or plan the next steps towards your goals.
- To be empathetic, encouraging, and available to meet with you at least 4 times over the course of the program term.
- To be open to giving you feedback, and challenging or guiding you.
- To stimulate your learning, reflection and growth.
Key expectations of mentees
Your role as a mentee:
- To initiate contact with your mentor and take responsibility for setting up at least 4 meetings over the course of the program term - be proactive in and committed to cultivating the mentoring relationship.
- To be respectful of the mentor’s time (i.e. be punctual and give advanced notice of any cancelled meeting) and accommodate your mentor’s schedule, if possible.
- To have an idea of what you would like to learn or gain from the mentoring relationship, and to communicate this to your mentor at the start of your relationship.
- To be prepared with questions or issues to discuss in advance of each meeting with your mentor (i.e. have an agenda for the meeting).
- To be open and receptive to feedback and suggestions from your mentor.
- To respect the confidentiality and privacy of the mentor.
- To abide by the Sheridan College Student Code of Conduct.
How to participate in the mentorship program
- Create a Sheridan Connect account and set up a student profile.
- Browse the Directory or Mentoring tab to view profiles of alumni. You can refine your search by filtering by search by industry, organization, and/or location. Select the alumna/alumnus who you would like to be your mentor. Send a request by clicking “Request mentorship”. Write a message introducing yourself and explain why you are requesting mentorship. (See sample email template at the end of these guidelines).
- Note:You may only send one (1) request for mentorship at a time.
- The alumna/alumnus will receive your message and respond.
- If the alumna/alumnus accepts your request, begin corresponding with them to schedule your first meeting.
- If the alumna/alumnus declines your request, browse the alumni directory to find another alumna/alumnus you would be interested in being mentored by.
Sample email template requesting mentorship from an alumnus/alumna
My name is ___________, and I am a Sheridan College student in [program, semester] with an interest in ________________.
I came across your profile on Sheridan Connect, and noticed that [identify some areas of commonality between you and the alumnus/alumna – e.g. the alumnus/a graduated from the same program you are currently enrolled in; the alumnus/a works for an organization you are interested in]. I would be delighted to learn more from you, so I am sending this request to connect with you as my mentor.
[Share what you hope to gain from the mentoring experience.]
If you accept my request, I would be happy to set up a time for us to talk over the phone, via Skype or in person.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Preparing for the first meeting with your mentor
- Forward this worksheet to your mentor prior to the meeting.
- As the student, you are responsible for setting up all meetings with your mentor.
- In advance of the first meeting, complete the “Identifying Key Questions and Challenges” questionnaire below. The effort you put into identifying your key questions and challenges will establish preliminary goals for your mentoring relationship and help you to develop the agenda.
Identifying Key Questions and Challenges
- What are your interests and challenges relevant to the mentorship program?
- What are your personal and professional goals for your mentorship relationship?
- What are your strengths and what skills do you need to develop?
- Brainstorm your personal and professional goals – job search strategies, industry knowledge, career paths, time management, work-life balance and communication skills.
- Choose the top 3–5 that you would like to achieve throughout the mentorship program.
Best practices for building and managing a mentorship relationship
Confidentiality is important in building trust between you and your mentor.
All student participants must adhere to the following confidentiality guidelines:
- Your mentor's contact information must be kept confidential at all times. Your mentor has agreed to mentor you and share information with you—not with others whom you may know.
- Refrain from making any negative comments about your mentor or sharing any information that they shared in confidence with you.
- You are not to solicit or expect your mentor to give or find you an internship or job.
- You are not to seek assignment help or counsel from your mentor regarding academic problems such as difficulty with a faculty member. Such issues should be resolved directly with the Faculty.
Students failing to respect these guidelines may be disqualified from the program.
In addition, you or your mentor may wish to identify and observe other areas of confidentiality (e.g. personal or privileged industry information).
Openness & flexibility
- Be flexible – your mentor is a volunteer – when possible, try to accommodate your mentor’s schedule, reschedule meetings, or be open to changing meeting formats, as needed, but remain committed to achieving your goals.
- Listen and be receptive to the advice and insights shared by your mentor. The more open you are, the more you will benefit from the mentoring relationship. You may not agree with your mentor on everything, but do show appreciation for and a willingness to consider his/her advice.
- You are encouraged to meet with your mentor a minimum of four times throughout the year. The location of these meetings (if meeting face-to-face) must be agreed upon by both parties.
- It is your responsibility to initiate and maintain contact – we encourage you to prepare objectives or questions for each meeting.
- Follow up on any next steps your mentor recommends. Be sure to keep your mentor in the loop, particularly if your mentor provided you with a referral or a resource.
- Work with your mentor to establish mutually-agreed upon goals for your mentoring relationship. Consider defining both short-term and long-term goals that both of you hope to accomplish, and set clear time frames.
- As the mentorship relationship is formal and professional, you are expected to dress in professionally-appropriate attire when meeting your mentor face-to-face unless otherwise arranged by both parties. Take cues from your mentor on how to dress for his/her workplace/ profession/field.
- Both you and your mentor are expected to reflect acceptable levels of professionalism toward each other and toward others.
Closure doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your relationship
Mentorship closure does not preclude mentors and students from continuing your relationship informally. It simply removes any obligation on either party to do so.
What does closure entail?
- Celebrate each other's successes and the mentorship experience.
- Reflect on the mentoring relationship you have developed and what you have learned from the process
- Send your mentor a thank-you note, and give them honest feedback.
At the conclusion of your mentorship experience, you are required to provide feedback about your mentor. Your feedback is confidential and will be used only to improve the program. Your feedback is valuable!
Thank you for your support!
You are expected to abide by Sheridan’s policies which includes the Student Code of Conduct among others while using Sheridan Connect. You agree to maintain professional conduct and ensure that all communications are respectful, civil and professional.
If you feel uncomfortable, unsafe, are subject to or experience unacceptable behaviour during your participation in Sheridan Connect, please contact Sandra Yu, Employment Development Specialist, Career-Integrated Learning, at email@example.com. Sheridan Connect shall involve the appropriate parties and will address the matter accordingly. Your personal information shall be protected in accordance with Sheridan’s obligations under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and may be disclosed on a need-to-know basis to ensure proper resolution of the issue.
Sheridan also has resources that you are welcome to take advantage of as the need arises. You can contact Campus Security at (905)-815-4044 or the Peel or Halton Regional Police.
Assumption of Risk, Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims and Indemnity Agreement.
- I acknowledge that I am at least 18 years of age and my participation in Sheridan Connect is voluntary.
- I am aware that participation in Sheridan Connect may expose me to some unforeseeable risks as a result of my interaction with other users on this platform whether over the web or in person. The risks and dangers of participation include but are not limited to: computer malware, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to personal information, alteration or use of record or personal information, all manner of injury, accidents or illness in places without medical facilities, acts of God, property loss or damage and the hazards of travelling by any means of transportation. I freely accept and fully assume all risks, dangers and hazards and the possibility of personal injury, psychological injury, sickness, death, property damage or loss I sustain, however caused, by my participation in Sheridan Connect.
- In consideration of my participation in Sheridan Connect, I agree as follows:
- TO WAIVE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS that I have in the future against The Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (“Sheridan”), the Board of Governors of Sheridan, and its members, officers, employees, students, agents, volunteers and independent contractors (all of whom are hereinafter collectively referred to as “Releasees”).
- TO RELEASE THE RELEASEES from any and all liability for loss, damage, injury or expense that I or my next of kin may suffer as a result of participation in this program INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE, BREACH OF CONTRACT, OR BREACH OF ANY STATUTORY OR OTHER DUTY OF CARE.
- TO HOLD HARMLESS AND INDEMNIFY THE RELEASEES from any and all liability for any damage to the property of, or personal injury to, any third party, resulting from participation in Sheridan Connect.
- This acknowledgment shall be binding upon my heirs, next of kin, executors, administrators and assigns, in the event of death or incapacity.